Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ITBS, PT, and the JMT for FA

How's that for a bunch of letters?

First -- a reminder that we are fundraising for Feeding America.  Before Christmas, we reached 50% of our $2104 goal.  Now it's time to raise that other 50%.  Please check out our fundraising page and contribute what you can.  Every penny goes straight to Feeding America.

On December 26, I slipped on my icy driveway while loading the car for my Tecumseh hike.  I did what most hikers do...I got up, brushed myself off, and went on my hike.  2200 feet of elevation gain and 5 miles later, I got home and put my feet up.

Here's Alex's reenactment of my fall...

The next morning, the lateral (outside) portion of my left knee was swollen, so I stayed off it (kind of...I have children...) for a couple of days.  I then hiked Cannon (2400 feet of elevation gain and 4.5 miles) through a foot of unbroken snow.  In between those hikes, I shoveled two storms' worth of snow from my long driveway.  A few days later, after the Cannon hike, the girls and I tried to ascend Waumbek.  That's when my knee finally rebelled.

The knee didn't hurt on Cannon -- at all.  It barely hurt on Tecumseh.  I didn't hurt when I was shoveling the snow.  On Waumbek, however, it became weak and started to hurt like hell.

I had an x-ray, which showed degenerative arthritis.  Um...yikes.  I don't feel symptoms, but I'll see a specialist soon so I can learn how to manage that lovely condition long-term.  I plan to hike as much as possible for the rest of my life, so I need to know how to increase my chances of pain-free joints.

The MRI showed no menisci tears, which is good.  The verdict -- Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  Usually, that's an overuse injury.  In my case, I slammed the heck out of the distal portion (by the top of my tibia) when I fell, the band subsequently became inflamed, I ignored it and hiked multiple times in the days that followed, and now the whole damn thing is very unhappy with me.

What does this mean in terms of hiking?  I'll probably be off the trails for a few weeks, then I'll likely ease back into things on flat, ice-free trails/sidewalks.  I hope to regain 4K hiking ability within two months, and I don't anticipate having any serious issues on the John Muir Trail (seven months from now).  Of course, I'll have a better idea of what to expect after I begin physical therapy.  My first appointment with my osteo/sports-med doctor is two weeks from today.

In the meantime, I've put myself on the 5:2 eating plan so I can avoid putting on weight during my relative inactivity.  Also, I'm increasing my sit-up sessions, weight lifting (arms) reps, and core body work-outs.

I'll post my PT details and weight loss progress each week.

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