Natalie Writes About Running
On Recovering from a Knee Injury
By Natalie Trimble
I wish this was 500 puns about how we knee-d our knees. Or a few kind words of appreciation for the two joints that keep us going while enduring eight times our weight. Alas, it's neither. It's a handful of thoughts about recovering from a knee injury.
If you assumed said injury came from a fall while running, or that I have a dramatic story about rescuing my cute baby, you would be wrong. I twisted my knee while getting up from the ground and reaching behind me. Nothing silly or athletic-nothing preventable. Mine is not a cautionary tale. There's no wisdom to glean, no mistake I can advise you to avoid. Accidents happen.
For the first several days all my plans are cancelled and I am planted on the couch. The lazy part of me enjoys resting. The mother in me just wants to mop, but all of me is suddenly desperate for a good run. I'm paranoid that such a simple moment will divide my life into two segments: pre-injury, and limping. I spend a lot of time regretting every run I've skipped lately and all the walks I didn't make time for. But I don't want to think about the possibility of never running again, so instead I consider never having to do another plié during Barre. (Sidenote: I highly recommend barre for crosstraining. Its a series of stretches and small movements-a combination of ballet, pilates, and yoga. If you want more information, check out a video on Youtube. I'm always looking for more people who understand the pain of pliés.)
The timing of my injury is ironic. While I'm resting and calculating to avoid steps-multitasking every time I get up and continuously asking favors of my husband-my fifteen-month-old son is mastering the art of walking. Oliver toddles around just for the sake of practice. When he gets up, he doesn't care much about efficiency of steps or what he might accomplish. He likes his new freedom and wants to use it. What a lesson for runners. It's easy to get caught up in the craziness of training and busy schedules, until our runs become a chore. Or running can become something we do just as a small step toward losing weight. If running is too much of an obligation, we might forget the childlike joy of moving quickly on our own feet. What a privilege, I now see. It's a privilege that I've too often taken for granted.
Three weeks later, and I'm still limping, so according to Dr. Google, I should still be using crutches, but its near impossible to do so when you have a baby. Even walking babies like to be held. Also, someone should invent crutches that come with a nonslip tray. What's the point of getting around if you can't pull anything out of the fridge?
I'm finally heading to the doctor next week. I've been putting it off, hoping that my knee would recover with rest, but I am now afraid of making something in my knee worse. Regardless of what the doctor says, I know the recovery will not be as immediate as my injury was. But I am willing to be patient and do whatever is recommended. I know another run will be worth the wait.