This will be my first post on the forum and a lengthy one as well I apologize. I’ve been an on and off runner most of my life. Back in 2011 I had a dull ache in both of my knees, went to the orthopedic and he told me I had Chondromalicia (runners knee), he said I will always have this problem and to give up running before it got worse. I finished the season and took a break from running, running was secondary for me… I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years and I didn’t want the running to mess up my swimming. I did a few 5ks occasionally and some light training over the years. Fast forward to 2018, I started running again and became more serious. Starting in May I jumped into marathon training, I completed my first half marathon with ease and for the most part the training was a breeze. I had some slight knee irritation on the 18, 20 mile runs but the next morning they would feel great and give me no trouble. I’ve been following Hal Higdons Novice 1 plan and never missed a training day, even in the rain and brutal 100F and humidity! The week of Christmas I took off for a week when we went on vacation and on the way home I caught the flu. I was in bed sick for another week so that was a total of two weeks off. Once I felt better I decided to do a 20 mile run to make up for lost time, but something felt different. On mile 18 I felt an intense sharp pain in my left knee and I could no longer put any weight on it. I couldn’t walk. The knee was swollen and purple. I had my husband pick me up and I RICEd it for the weekend. Come Monday I still couldn’t walk so I went to the orthopedic. He gave me a cortisone shot which relieved most of the pain and took X rays, and he told me I had patellofemoral pain syndrome. He said rest for the week and then you should be back running and you should be able to race your marathon in three weeks. He told me to cross train if I’d like and that its perfectly fine to walk on it now. Along with that he sent me home with a work sheet full of physical therapy exercises to do each day. He also sold me an $80 bulky knee brace with a hole for the knee cap to go. I rested for the week and weekend, I didn’t cross train but I did walk my dog. I also have been doing the therapy exercises each day, they include leg lifts, clams, side leg lifts, etc. Each day around the 30 minute mark of walking i’d get that intense pain again in my knee on the interior side of my knee cap and had to stop walking. The knee brace seems to be making things worse, it causes more pain and is difficult to bend my leg. It feels like its pulling my knee cap to the wrong side? Midway through the week my toes on the injured leg cramped up for several days straight and turned purple and the leg would start to buckle on walks. Today was the day I was supposed to be back to normal according to the doctor, I went for a quick jog and could only make it .5 miles before intense pain… not surprised considering I still can’t walk on it without pain. I can run up and down stairs effortlessly, no pain at all. But sitting at the dinner table does hurt! My marathon is next Sunday… I prepared so hard for this race I’d hate to give up but at this point all seems lost. More than anything i’m scared I may never be able to run without pain again. Running is my escape, its my sanity, after getting injured I have been so depressed. I don’t have access to a pool anymore or a bike so I don’t really have any cross training options. I don’t know if I should pull out of the race or rest more… at this point I also feel I have lost stamina since I took the week off for christmas, a week off for the flu, and now how many weeks for my knee? It is so disheartening because before all this I could run 20 miles with such ease and I felt so happy… I have come home almost every day crying after the walk because the knee pain is so terrible. I’m wondering at this point too if the doctors diagnosis was wrong, shouldn’t I be able to walk by now without pain?
Thanks if you made it through all this and I appreciate any advice you may give!