I had the chance to meet my orthopedic doctor when I requested a Medical Team and Ambulance for the conduct of the latest Tagaytay To Nasugbu 50K Ultra Run on the first week of December 2013, last month. I asked him to make an schedule of an appointment for medical check-up on my knees after my participation in the 3rd Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run and after taking a break/leave from running during the Holiday Season. The doctor readily told me that I could see him either on the last day of the year (december 31) or on New Year’s Day.
Fast forward. After the TD 100 where I DNFd at Km 110, I have observed that there was swelling on the upper part of my right knee and felt some pain after I did a recovery hike and run for about two hours two days after the TD 100. It was a good reason to really force myself to go on a rest period on the following weeks & days before my appointment to my orthopedic doctor. So, from December 17 to December 31, I had only two “outings” on the trails which are mostly hiking in nature. But the swelling and pain were still there until before I finally met my doctor.
On the afternoon of December 31st, I went to my orthopedic doctor to have my knees for medical check-up. My meeting had also served as my maintenance check on the results of my bi-monthly rehabilitation on my injured knees on the early part of last year (2013). The doctor immediately made an ocular check on swelling part of my right knee and he recommended me to have my knees to be x-rayed.
I could say that one of the most important benefits of being a retired military officer and a Major General at that, is that I have lifetime free medical service from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Philippine Army’s Hospital & Medical Center has all the services and facilities that I need to support my passion in running. With a written slip/order from the doctor, I was brought to the Radiology Department and in 10-15 minutes, my X-Ray was done and the films were developed for the immediate analysis of my orthopedic doctor. Very fast and efficient as there was only ONE soldier-medical technician who did all the works.
The doctor analyzed and read the films as he flashed the films on a lighted monitor. The following are the findings:
Left Knee: It is healthy, normal, and strong with minimal “spurs”.
Right Knee (Swelling One): There are “pointed spurs” which are causing the pain inside my knee and these “spurs” should be flattened immediately.
The doctor asked me if I have a stationary bike and I said, yes! He advised me to immediately include a stationary bike workout, at least, 30 minutes every day without any force or weight that would make my leg muscles exert any effort. He said that my legs should be made to move on a circular motion in order to maximize the full movement of my knees. It is due to my running, in quick and small strides, that the full motion of knees were restricted. He made a personal guarantee that the “pointed spurs” will be removed, if not, flattened, if I will do my stationary biking regularly.
On the night after I left the hospital, I was able to manage a 20-minute stationary cycling without any force but I have to cut short with my workout due to my butt being in pain as I am no longer used to using my bike.
After 4 sessions of 30-minute stationary cycling, I was surprised that the swelling had greatly reduced and I could no longer feel any pain on my right knee.
The doctor’s advise is very good and my orthopedic doctor is the best doctor that I really admire! He deserves to have that wine which I gave him as a present for the Holiday Season.
This is a testimony that any runner, old or young, marathoner or ultra marathoner, needs to have a medical check-up to his/her knees and be able to expose themselves in cross training. As I am getting older and my the full range of motion of my body parts are being shortened and restricted, there is a need to do other forms of exercise which will serve as “cross training” to one’s main sports.
So, lace up, get out of the door and run!