And the Verdict Is…

28 Mar

Patellofemoral syndrome (aka Runner’s Knee) and an overly tight psoas.

Now that’s a mouthful.

So, what does all of this mean?

The medical definition:

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a syndrome characterized by pain or discomfort seemingly originating from the contact of the posterior surface of the patella (back of the kneecap) with the femur (thigh bone). (Wikipedia)

Runner's Knee


My kneecap is literally just slopping around in there. It’s crunchy and straight up gross.

Psoas: As part of the iliopsoas, psoas major contributes to flexion and external rotation in the hip joint. On the lumbar spine, unilateral contraction bends the trunk laterally, while bilateral contraction raises the trunk from its supine position.[4] (Wikipedia)



As you can see from the picture, the psoas is extremely important in the function of the hip. Mine is beyond tight – like someone went in and cut a chunk of it out and now it’s short.

That explains both the knee pain, and the pain down the side of my leg.

The calf thing I kept talking about? That was just some muscle knots, they’ve been worked out. It isn’t my calf.

What does this mean for my running and racing?

I can run, if I feel okay with it. Right now, I don’t, so I won’t. I have a prescription for physical therapy, I’ll be calling them first thing tomorrow morning.

I have only one exercise restriction – no distance running.

And that means I can’t train for the Cox Rhode Races Marathon. I was also specifically told to not run the marathon. Boohoo. Sad smile

However, there’s a good chance I can still run the half. I am on a “play by ear” running status. The race is 38 days away.

What I have been told to do:

  • Cut back on my miles
  • Do more yoga (that’s not a problem!)
  • Stretch
  • Foam roll
  • Strengthen my quads
  • Pay CLOSE attention when I do decide to run
  • Take anti-inflammatories

If I do run, I’m to ice my knee directly after, as well as warm up with things like butt kicks and high knees.

I think I’m still in shock, that’s why I’m writing this with little to no emotion.

I’m just going to take it one day at a time and focus on healing. I can’t really do much else right now, right?

Anyone else ever had these troubles? Do you have any good quad strengthening exercises?



26 Responses to “And the Verdict Is…”

  1. Ari @ Ari's Menu March 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I hope you feel better!!

  2. jobo March 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I am glad you are approaching this the way you are, I think it’s very smart! And the PT will help, as will strengthening your hips, quads, thighs. Download that spin workout, I think you will like it (good baby steps towards taking a real class!). XO

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      I will download it, now if I can just not dread the bum pain that comes with the bike LOL

      Thanks hun XOXO

  3. Suzanne March 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Glad you know what’s going on and you know where to go from here!

  4. Heather (Where's the Beach) March 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    I’ve had the runner’s knee – but it was mostly from doing step + running + lifting not “just” running. I got one of the patellar straps and it helped almost immediately. I didn’t run or lift without it for a couple of years. So glad it’s not something far worse. Be careful not to over-strengthen quads in relation to hamstrings. That brings on another whole set of issues.

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      I am going to get a patellar strap – you and Jess both suggested it, and I know a few other people that use them too.

      Over strengthen the quads? How do I strengthen hamstrings? I feel like such a newbie suddenly!

  5. cottercrunch March 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    my husband has had that before too! change the shoes and strength train and rest. YOU CAN OVERCOME!!! Praying for ya.

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Shoes can cause it? Really? I’ve been running in the same shoes (not the SAME shoes, but the same TYPE) for a long time!

      Thanks for the prayers, it means a lot!!!! XOXO

      • cottercrunch March 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        yes, get your gait checked again and shoes. Keep us posted friend. ❤

  6. Heather@Just a Colorado Gal March 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    From what I gather, runner’s knee is super common. I have never had it, but I think almost everyone else I know has! Maybe try one legged squats? Those are always brutal and great for quad strengthening! 🙂

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      I wonder if I could do one legged squats without falling over? Worth a shot right? Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Portia March 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Im so sorry about the marathon. It didn’t sound so serious from your tweet earlier. The good thing is – nothing is broken, so you “just” need to adjust your goals. It is hard but you will get stronger and be back better than ever.

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      “Just” needing to adjust my goals is much better than NOT running at all! And, I’m learning some very valuable lessons!

  8. Kristin March 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. You’ll be back in the saddle in no time! 🙂

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Thanks hun! I’m blaming those awful roads in NOLA 😉

  9. Tina Reale (@tinareale) March 29, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Oh, girl! I’m here for you! We can be injury support mates. I’m sending you a big hug!

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Hugs back! Thank you Tina! It’s a little hard to swallow, but I’m working on staying positive! How’s your foot feeling?

  10. Jess Sutera March 29, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I know you wrote this with little emotion since you’re still processing things BUT I will say I’m proud of you for handling it the way you have so far. It’s NOT easy to be told you can’t do something you love and deal with that. It’s just not. But like Lindsay said, you WILL overcome. Focus on strength and stretching and you will be back in no time, I PROMISE you that. Also like Heather said, get some of those straps, I have them too and they really do help keep things where they belong while running. Stay STRONG!! xoxo

    • runcupcake March 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you dear. Thanks to you and Jo for all of our back and forth e-mails to keep me calm (and usually laughing!). It’s NOT easy to be told I can’t do something, especially because I am that person that says “Oh yeah? Watch me.” But not this time.


  11. livelovenrun March 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Oh my goodness what’s up with everyone being injured! I feel like everyone’s heading toward upcoming races all bruised and beat up. I’m so sorry you’re having to endure this, friend! (And I’m so sorry this is the first you’ve heard from me in a while.)

    I’m a big fan of seated leg presses. They’ve really helped build my quads, and I notice a difference in my crunchy knees.

  12. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf March 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I so sorry to hear this! But good for you for cutting back. I know it’s super hard. I’m in the same boat right now so I hear you!!

    I wrote a post last week about some leg strengthening exercises but one that I would recommended are step downs. Stand with right leg on a step and lower left heel down towards the floor. Make sure that your right knee is centered over your foot. This focuses on your glutes but also the muscles on your inner front thigh, right outside your knee which helps with knee stabilization. I’ve found that you don’t have to lower your leg all the way down to the floor but you want to try to work that muscle. I’m not a trainer by any means but I this was a key exercise I had to do when recovering from knee surgery. Good luck and keep us posted!

    • runcupcake March 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks for the tips! I will definitely try these and look at your post!

  13. Alice April 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Came across your blog via Cox Rhode Races twitter .. couldn’t help chiming in because I’ve been dealing with a pretty intense knee injury the entire time I’ve been training for the Cox marathon and it’s been a journey for sure! I was diagnosed with patella maltracking in January, and then patella tendonitis in the same knee 2 months later. The doctors I saw told me that I definitely couldn’t run a marathon in 3 months .. but I found an amazing physical therapist and seeing her 2 times a week for the past few months has helped me get to a place where I am no longer experiencing extreme knee pain and I was able to do a 20 mile training run almost pain free – something I didn’t think could happen (a few weeks prior I couldn’t run over 6 miles without pain). So I just wanted to share my story with you to let you know that you will get better! And physical therapy works! I’m sure you’re going to kill it at the Cox half.
    – Alice


  1. Everything Happens for a Reason « Running and Cupcakes - March 29, 2012

    […] heard this a few times since I got the diagnosis on my leg last night. And it got me […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: