I finally caved. After suffering from a sore knee for more than a month after the marathon, I decided I should go see a physiotherapist. My body was not healing on its own, or at least it was not healing fast enough for my liking.
Because I had such a good experience with Rebalance Sports Medicine back in September, I decided to go back. There, I met Reanna who did my initial assessment.
The diagnosis: Left IT band friction Syndrome.
Turns out, I have some weakness in my hips which is affecting my form. As a result, I run in a really imbalanced way resulting in IT band issues, which culminates in knee pain.
On the one hand, I’m super pleased to hear I’m not actually injured. I’m just imbalanced! Hooray!
On the other hand, I have to work hard to fix this. It isn’t something that will go away on its own and it has a lot to do with poor form. No one teaches you how to run. You just do it. And if you have bad form like I do, it can be really hard to fix.
In addition to a variety of stretches, intense (read: painful!) massages and strength training exercises, I also had acupuncture done for the first time to help relieve some of the tension in my leg.
I’m not going to lie, I was a pretty big skeptic of acupuncture. The whole idea is weird and needles are gross. Getting a flu shot is about as much interaction with a needle as I want in any given year, so volunteering to have a giant one stuck in my leg seemed pretty questionable.
But it was actually totally fine. It didn’t hurt at all – just felt like a dull ache that went away after a few minutes. And because I had to lay there with it in for 20 minutes, I got to have a little nap which was kind of nice.
I was expecting Reanna to tell me to take it easy and not run at all, but she actually recommended I try a little run, focusing on form.
I went out on Sunday and had a great 5K run with NO pain at all! Maybe it was the exercises and stretches, but I’m now convinced acupuncture is magical.
A few more treatments and I should be back to normal. And after that, I’ll start plotting my race plans for 2014.