Why I Don’t Run: Part I

Since I wanted to keep yesterday’s gym post from becoming a novel I decided to defer my knee story to today. Turns out it will now come in two parts! Here’s Part I:

I had issues with my right knee starting in elementary school. I played travel soccer (yeah we had sweet jackets!) when I was younger and I started to do some unknowable damage to my knee when I played. I say unknowable damage because I honestly couldn’t tell you what would happen. All I know is I would take a step, my knee would freak out and then the world would go black and I’d be on the ground in immense pain. Then my knee would swell up for days and I’d  be out of commission. It was really hard to get a diagnosis from an orthopedist since I blacked out everytime it happened. My body’s way of telling me: this is gonna hurt like a betch, so you better go night night.

The doctor in middle school finally determined that I had a plica. It’s a membrane around your knee that is supposed to disolve when you grow up, but sometimes if you are a very active child, it strengthens and acts like a rubber band snapping across bones. YIKES! They decided I should have orthroscopic surgery to remove this plica. Simple outpatient surgey with tiny cameras and tools to cut that puppy out. I got four sweet cross-shaped scars to prove it. The recovery from the surgery was hellish. I was put in this machine that forcibly moves your leg and I had my first contact with pain meds: Tylenol with Codeine. Once I could walk I was put in a big brace and sent to physical therapy.

The surgery seemed to work and I went about my athletic ventures but then some time in high school the same thing happened again with the black outs and knee flip out. Boo. I was not fixed after all. I just learned to deal with it and to not play sports where I would have to move laterally. I also wore a brace or taped up my knee whenever I exercised.

It kept happening in college, maybe every 4-6 months. WHAT THE HECK?? The trainer just said my quads were pretty weak and therefore my ACL was probably loose. I got tons of X-rays, etc. Nothing. So I kept icing and training and strengthening. Then one day I was in the Varsity weight room on the treadmill. I just finished an intense walking session and half stepped off to get the cleaning spray for the machine. BOOM. My knee tweaked. No blackout. I looked down. My knee cap was outside of my knee – like full-on sticking out of its socket. Before stepping down with my full weight I carefully pushed it back into place.


I hobbled to the trainer next door to explain what had just happened. He goes, “Yeah, that’s called subluxing your patella. We’re gonna need to strengthen that knee up so it doesn’t keep happening.” Jesus. I’d never caught my knee mid-freakout before. And now it had a name! I was read once that when you name something it loses all it’s power (Marx, Nietsche?). Take that subluxing patella.

I continued to deal with my knee but after I graduated I wasn’t very active anymore and therefore wasn’t having many patella issues. Then 18 months ago, my knee swelled up to the size of a large cantelope for no reason. To be continued…

Have you ever had injury mysteries?


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Filed under Exercise, Injury

One response to “Why I Don’t Run: Part I

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