Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PFS...Uh oh

PFS -- Patella Femoral Syndrome. I had it in training for my first marathon and it scares me like no other injury. In sum, it is a chronic over use injury caused by putting too much stress on the legs and knees too quickly. Many runners and beginners have relatively weak quads and tight hips. Thus the patella (the kneecap) does not track exactly straight in its intended groove. As you run more and more, irritation develops under the kneecap, and for me anyway, resulted in debilitating pain. It almost ended my first marathon before it began. After visiting two "famous" running docs, an MRI and scheduled surgery, I instead opted for a month in physical therapy. (I had a great Physical therapist here in New York, and highly recommend him if anyone needs one. He was training various Broadway stars and the NY Rangers at the time, and it was kind of weird rehabbing next to those guys.) Anyway, the basic remedy was no running, stretching the hips and quads, and basic quad exercises. After a month or so I was back to to running, but truth be told, I ran a 20 miler about 8 weeks before my marathon and then not more than 12. I had no idea if I was going to make it. But I did.
Imagine my chagrin, then, yesterday when I rubbed my knee and felt IT. The soft spot that reminded me so much of the dull, almost bruise like pain of PFS under my left knee -- the same knee I had it before. It was one of the reasons I wanted to lift more weights, more core exercises this time -- to avoid exactly this problem. So today, I started gobbling Advil, and stretching every spare moment.
I was very nervous getting on the treadmill tonight.

But no pain! Maybe this is just a little tenderness, but I am not taking any chances -- ice on it, more Advil, more stretching. And a rededication to core, hip and quad exercises, thanks to Matt Fitzgerald.

There is no substitute for prevention, preparation and attention now.


  1. How come I can't your blog as an RSS feed on Google Reader? It says the feed is not found. Has anyone else mentioned this.

  2. I have no idea unfortunately...I'll fiddle with it and see what I can do!

  3. An unfortunately timely post for me. Very mild, but I cut back some for the last couple of weeks after my 20-miler. After avoiding leg weights since then to prevent aggravation, I added back very light leg extensions (less than the weight used for upper body lifts) and that has helped for me - it finally feels consistently good. We'll see how good after the Brooklyn half tomorrow. But walking up stairs has been pain-free for several days (down stairs was less of an issue), although it was all very very mild.

    Yeah, the RSS hasn't worked since I started reading your blog.


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