I returned to running today after a break of six days. I know this doesn't sound much but believe me, it's felt like years. I've been icing the knee three times a day, and doing the glute exercises religiously every evening before bed. I now have a special band to put round my legs and I have to walk backwards and forwards across the room pushing the knees out to get the glutes firing properly (with the band there as resistance). That's followed by five squats (so I look like a weight-lifter preparing to heft a heavy weight above my head), holding the sixth one for five seconds before repeating the sequence. This is in addition to the buttock-squeezing and leg-lifting exercises that afford my husband such hilarity.
Running is teaching me a great deal about how the body works; how a pain in your knee is really nothing to do with the joint at all and everything to do with weakness in the muscles that stabilise it. Possibly, this is why so many people give up running at the first sign of an injury. There is a perception that running is terribly bad for your joints but there is no research that I've read that supports this view. People tend to pick up injuries when they start running, run with ill-fitting shoes, or when they increase training because the muscles that support the increased leg movements are out of condition.
I have learnt this week that runners tend to have very strong 'forward and back' muscles (quads and hams) but are generally week in the lateral ones (glute medians), which lift and twist the thigh, so that's where my corrective efforts are currently focused.
I was desperate to get back to running today. Under strict instructions from Steve (Physio) to push the knees a little but to stay within fairly slow pacing, I did a 28 minute Parkrun to test them. It was such a relief to feel no knee pain during the run and (perhaps more importantly) none after it, and it was bliss to be back running. I am quietly hopeful that, given this good experience this morning, I may get the all-clear later this week to do the Bridport half at the weekend. If necessary I will walk down the hills :o)
Hope you're all well?