After six to nine months of grappling with a nagging injury in my right knee, I finally visited an orthopedic doctor this week to determine what the problem is.
I hate going to doctors, not that I don't like doctors, but I'd prefer to save my money and time if it all possible. That strategy has generally worked for me in the past in that I've been able to "run through" injuries that go away on their own over time (with the exception that I've had positive experience battling injuries through chiropractic care).
That said, the problem with my outer right knee has not gotten any better. I recall in the summer, when riding bikes with the kids, that the knee issue would flare up, to the point that I'd have to reduce pressure on the right leg while peddling and peddle stronger with my left leg.
Same with the running. I've been able to continue running with the nagging, sometime sharp pain in my outer right knew by focusing on running on the inner knee. Not a simple feat. But then out of the blue, the injury flares up.
Every morning when I do my run, the knee hurts as I run downhill. But after a mile or so, it gradually goes away. But then later in the day, I could be walking the dog, and once I attempt to move at more than walking pace, I feel the nagging pain, like a little LEGO character holding a dull knife and stabbing me in the knee.
The first thing they did was x-ray the knee from all angles (can't wait to see the bill). But the good news from my very smart doctor at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Thousand Oaks is that, mechanically, the knee looks fine. There is an appropriate amount of space between the bones, etc.
Good. That rules out knee replacement. Whew.
What he believes it to be is iliotibial band friction syndrome, possible lateral meniscus tearing and chondromalacia (which according to the Interwebz means a problem with the cartilage under the kneecap).
So, he recommends evaluation and treatment via physical therapy. I suspect they will show me particular exercises to do that will hopefully alleviate the IT band issue and allow me to run carefree again. We shall see.