acupuncture for running injuries

Knee

I’ve been dealing with a knee issue since December. I had tendinitis in my right knee. I think it was from one of the knee machines at the gym (which I quit using). I was going to PT and haven’t been seeing any improvements. I saw Ortho in June and got an MRI, which of course was inconclusive.

The diagnosis is “mild chondromalacia of joint and quadriceps tendinitis”. But honestly my Ortho Doc is baffled.

I decided to spend the summer going to PT and trying to see what happens. There was a lot going on with moving, selling our house, etc. PT wasn’t really helping, though and a lot of the exercises I was trying to do was making it WORSE. It was SO frustrating! And my physical therapist was frustrated too!

I recently started doing acupuncture and was actually seeing some differences–which was weird because all the times I’ve ever tried acupuncture, I never really saw any results. But this time, it seemed to help. It gave me a few weeks of relief! Then my benefits ran out. My physical therapist plead my case to my doctor for a referral so I could keep going and that finally got approved! So in a few weeks I’ll go back to acupuncture and see if that helps.

Which brings me to this week. It’s been two weeks since I’ve been to acupuncture and this week my knee pain flared up again. I had a follow-up appointment with my Ortho doc Thursday and we chatted. He gave me two options–the cortisone shot and “dry needling“.

He said that the dry needling is different than acupuncture and can be more painful. He said he’d want me to take a few days off to rest after that but with the cortisone shot, I would be ok to go to work and move around and stuff (I just couldn’t work out for two days).

Since he’s not 100% sure on what my knee issue is because the MRI didn’t really show much, he said the cortisone shot was the best bet for now to see if it would just “reset” my body. Sometimes you need to reset the pain centers and then your body can heal. I had the same issue after my ankle surgery 15+ years ago and ended up getting a cortisone shot in my ankle (it was horribly painful!!!!) and then within a week my pain was gone and I had no more issues. I know some people need to have multiple injections, but I’m hoping I’m a one shot and done person. (Crossing fingers!)

So he thinks that I have fluid and inflammation in that area at the top of my kneecap (see picture above with the arrow). The pain is at the top of the kneecap, where it meets my quad. Stretching doesn’t help. Bending my knee hurts. Stairs hurt. It’s a very odd injury.

He sprayed my leg and knee with this stuff and then gave me the injection. Unlike with my ankle shot, it was one shot and it wasn’t painful at all. Then I went to work. I was stiff and a little sore but I was able to walk and didn’t feel miserable or anything.

It will take 7 days or so to see if the shot did anything. Right now it’s a guessing game. The naturopath doctor I saw suggested I try PRP therapy. I asked my Ortho Doc about it and he’s a HUGE fan. As a sports medicine doctor he thinks it’s a great thing and wishes that HMO’s would try it. It’s still controversial and they aren’t quite sure how or why it works for some people. But he raved about it and said if I could “afford it” (I can’t) I should try it. Time will tell. Right now I’m doing what insurance covers–the cortisone shot and acupuncture each week.

Another Try at Acupuncture

Remember the negative experience I had with my first acupuncture treatment? I was reluctant to give it another try but recently bought a Living Social deal for a local place and thought it was only fair to try again.


I went to the Pearl Health Center in the Pearl District downtown. My acupuncturist was named Michelle and I liked her quite a bit. She was calming, understanding and friendly. She was also a runner so that was good to hear. We went over some of the things I wanted treated–my insomnia, anxiety and stress, plus the physical issues I’ve had with my IT Band and my sacrum (which I reinjured recently).


Unlike my first experience where it was a group setting, this was a private room. I was much more comfortable. She had me undress and wear a hospital gown and lay face down. There was dim light, relaxing music and she put a heat lamp near me to keep me warm. She put in the needles in and it was a comfortable, easy experience. There were only two spots that I FELT when she put the needles in and one was in my IT Band. Ouch.


She also put the Tens device on my sacrum (my lower back). It’s a nerve stimulation supposed to work out the kinks and it felt fantastic. It was like tiny electric shocks alternative with vibrations and tiny taps on my back. It felt so great. She left the room for about 40 minutes and I fell dead asleep. I don’t even remember falling asleep. She finished up the 90 minute session with stretching my lower back. She showed me a few new stretches that felt awesome and painful at the same time.

She also suggested that I try the Nike Myrtl Routine (a 12 step pelvic girdle stretch) stretches 3 times a week. I’m definitely going to check it out and incorporate what I can into my normal stretches. I will definitely take her advice because she’s a runner, and she said her sister is training for her fourth Ironman. I felt like she knew what she was talking about.

I got home, feeling groggy–like that post-massage fog–and made leftovers for dinner. Michael made guacamole to go with our dinner.


Over the weekend I had made some easy enchiladas with leftover ground turkey meat. I had two enchiladas left so I reheated that for our dinner. I’m glad we had leftovers because I felt so uninspired to fix something!


Inside the enchilada: ground turkey meat, black olives, black beans, cheese, onions. Yum! I love enchiladas and using leftovers is even better. I added a few chopped tomatoes leftover from the garden to the top.


After dinner we watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead and I played with Fat Kitty! He was on fire and full of energy! He made me laugh and I needed a good chuckle.


He is so cute I can’t take it. 🙂 Oh and I made him dance to “Pumped Up Kicks.” It was hilarious. Fat Kitty kinda looked like one of the zombies from the Thriller video. Michael teased me because apparently everyone makes their cats dance? I had never done it before. It cracked me up!

QUESTION: What is your experience with acupuncture?