I am dreading writing this post. I never thought I would have to write this. I got the results back from my MRI that was done last Friday and it was not what I was expecting. Going into today’s visit I was thinking that I had a torn Meniscus. Well, now I wish that was the case, but its not. I have an Articular Cartilage Injury involving the Medial Femoral Condyle. Basically, the cartilage that surrounds the medial femor in the knee has worn away, thus exposing bone. Here is what I have found on the web about it:
What is articular cartilage?
Articular or hyaline cartilage is an extremely smooth, hard material, made up of the protein collagen, which lies on a bone's articulating surfaces (those surfaces that come into contact with other bones). Its function is to allow for the smooth interaction between two bones in a joint. Thus, if injured it can lead to impairment in the fluidity of joint movement. In addition articular cartilage is extravascular, meaning that it has no direct blood supply. This means that once injured it is extremely slow to heal.
Damage is graded from I-IV and can vary from obvious defects in the bone (grade IV) to very minor microscopic damage (grade I) which will appear normal when looked at with an arthroscopy (visualization of the inside to the knee joint). Injury to the articular cartilage will lead to inflammation and pain in the knee joint and in the long term it is known to accelerate the onset of osteoarthritis.
My condition is graded IV, figures. So the Dr. gave me a few options. The first being rest for the next 6 weeks and then have another MRI done to see if it is healing on its own, which is the option we went for. Second and beyond would be a number of different surgeries that would promote healing or cap the area with other cartilage from a donor area. Either way it spells doom for my running.
The Doc didn’t tell me I couldn’t run, but did tell me what would happen if I did. It was not a pretty picture considering I am only 34 years old and would have the possibility of having osteoarthritis by the time I was 40.
So I have decided not to run anymore, ever. At this point I just want my knee to heal so I can go run around with my kids. Yes it would heal and I could go back to running, but I am sure that the injury would occur again. I don’t want that to happen. I am sure that I will have some sort of arthritis in my knee anyways. I just don’t want to tell my kids no I can’t chase after you because my knee hurts or I can’t play baseball because I am a fool who decided to keep running after my knee healed and now I have a bigger problem. So no more running. I have at least another 50 years to go on my knees!
I haven’t decided if I want to continue swimming or biking. The doctor said I can do all activities that doesn’t involve running. I do have a sprint triathlon coming up in July that I still plan on swimming and biking, I will just walk the run. This really sucks. I trained my ass off all winter and spring and was so looking forward to this tri season. I really wanted to complete the Mayflower International Triathlon at Plymouth Rock in September and run my first half marathon in Hartford in October.
I am really going to miss running. I enjoyed every track workout, tempo run and hill repeats I have ever done. I will remember crossing the finish line of my first 5K and 10K with a huge smile on my face and thinking…I did it!
Running could have and probably is the direct cause of this injury, but I put the blame fully on my weight. For the past 10 or more years I have been battling weight issues. I went all the way up to 267 pounds and have managed to drop that down to 228 a few times, but have never keep the weight off. As of right now I am hovering around 236 – 237. I have gained a few pounds that I have lost in a recent challenge we had a work. It just doesn’t want to stay off. And the past few weeks with this injury hasn’t help any. So in the next 6 weeks my focus is on weight loss. If I want to help the healing process, I need to lose weight, and keep it off!
I give myself just today to sulk and be sad about not running anymore. But tomorrow, the sunrise brings a new day. An end of one thing brings a beginning of another. What that is, I don’t know. I still have 2 parts of a triathlon to train for.