I'm not primarily a distance runner, but have done a few half marathons, one full marathon, and am training for my second (just 3 weeks away). I've been unable to run at all the past 3 weeks due to serious knee pain during my long runs (I had gotten up to 20 miles). I saw a sports medicine doctor this week who said my problem is patella-femoral and I've got some arthritis under my kneecap. They shot my knee up with cortisone and said it should kick in by Friday evening. Here's my question: I'm registered for a 1/2 marathon Sunday morning- can I run it? Should I head out Saturday morning (once the cortisone is working) for a 3-miler and see how it feels? Has anyone had luck with cortisone shots in their knees? Is it possible I'll be ready for my marathon in February? How can I tell?
I wont be much help as I have not experienced what you have (for the pain, I mean... I've done 5 full and 10 half maratons, never had as long a lay off as you.. my longest was 10 days and that was 6 weeks out from the marathon).
My vote would be do the short run to see how it feels, Do the half but do not force yourself to finish. Be prepared to stop. Count it as a training run you get a T shirt for.
As for the marathon, Joan Benoit had orthroscopic surgury on her knee only weeks prior to the Olympic trials and you know how she did so I think with some cautious return to running you will be able to get in the marathon in feb.
Last year I tore my Gastrocnemius (Calf muscle) while sprinting hills 3 weeks prior to the Jungfrau Marathon. (An all up hill race) I was in pretty good shape and extremely upset about the prospect of missing the race I had looked forward to for so long. I did as much internet research as possible and followed the advice of RICE, stretching slowly and thoroughly multiple times every day. I did not run for three weeks prior to the race I ran the marathon but did not push too hard and it was OK.
I had a runner's knee issue several years ago. I believe that stretching can help with runners knee issues also. Do not take ibuprofin for several days prior to races as it disolves salts.