Vastus medialis oblique. Nope, not a Harry Potter spell – it’s the part of your inside quad that’s just above and to the inside of the knee cap. Lucky me I have an “unusual” issue where my VMO is too tight. Usually runners get an ITB that’s too tight and pulls the knee cap to the outside of the knee. Not me. My uptight VMO is aiding and abetting the inflammation under my knee cap. Marc’s gone with an initial diagnosis fat pad impingement rather than patella tendonopathy. Copping a feel of my knee, he’s reasonably sure that there’s not a tendon issue going on. Rather, the fat pad behind my knee cap is getting pinched between my patella and femur head as the knee gets over loaded.
Contributors: fatigue and heel striking which cause my knee to slightly hyper extend and pinch that fat pad. It’s funny, I thought “Wtf Marc my knee doesn’t hyper extend when I run!” But then he straightened my knee and then pushed down on on it to mimic the action of the pressure on it when my foot strikes the ground and yeppo – there was a slight hyper extension AND THE PAIN. That last moment of movement and whammo…. pinched fat pad right there.
How to fix it:
- Listen to Marc and do what he says.
- Continuous improvement on my glute and hip strength will help me engage those muscles while running.
- Tape my knee in the interim to help lift the patella and take it out of pinching range of my fat pad. It’s like separating siblings who are pinching each other. Big brother patella has been given a time out and is being physically restrained to give little sister fat pad time to pull herself together and stop being a whiny little bitch.
- Continue to work on my running technique. Marc has said this will make a huge difference as I am more aware of not hyper extending my knee, landing more softly and easing up on loading my knees so badly.
- Don’t push the injury. Run as long as it doesn’t hurt.
So I’m allowed to do the 6 week Spring speed course with TRC that’s starting on 15 September – concentrating on 5km and 10km speed.
I have my knee taped right now and I have strict orders to run 5km today. Hot diggity damn I love it! However, I did ask if I could chance 10km? Marc said no. And if I do he said he will bench me for a week. Ouch ok I’m sorry, I won’t run more than 5km I promise! Also, Marc seems to have faith that I can tape my own knee… fucking hell I should have paid more attention while he was doing it. I took Nat’s advice and wrote down some notes, and drew myself a picture of the taping while Marc was watching and he said that was fine and was sure I couldn’t fuck it up and accidentally tape wrong and hurt myself.
Other noteworthy mentions from physio appointment – I asked Marc if I could settle into a stride that was comfortable however not technique perfect, but was pain free, was that ok to run longer distances like that. Marc said yes. He said to always work on better form, but if I find that sweet spot, it doesn’t matter if it’s not text book perfect because it will be my own perfect style as long as it is not causing pain or inflammation anywhere. That made me feel awesome. I cannot wait to do this 6 week course. Marc will do a brief handover to Raf who can keep an eye on how I’m going. I will make him watch me goddammit. Marc hilariously joked that during sprints it can be tempting to push yourself harder because you want to beat that person next to you. I actually laughed out loud and corrected the man. Marc buddy, I’m going to be the slowest in the group. There won’t be any striving to beat anyone because I’m always last over the line no matter how hard I try. Hahaha. I’m totally ok with that. And hey, turns out I’m saving myself from accidental “hero” injury. Yay for me. Marc also confirmed my suspicion that running at the WA Athletics Centre on the track actually makes you feel like an Olympic sprinter lol. Can’t fucking wait.