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February 7, 2010 / elodie kaye

Catastrophe and Ruin Averted

The cost of that was running only 15 miles last week, my lowest since the week after Christmas.  My 4-week average for mileage dropped back down to 23 miles, but my injury is healing well, and I think I’ll be healthy again by the end of this week.

It turned out that my knee pain was not in the knee itself.  I have a mild case of anterior compartment syndrome.  Normally, this feels like shin splints to the outside of the shin bone.  In my case, I only feel a little more tenderness in the fascia on the left compared to my right.  The fascia is a sheath that encloses the large muscle that runs vertically to the outside of the shin, the anterior tibialis.  Most of the pain is from associated inflammation of the tendon which attaches that muscle to the knee.  It’s rubbing against the bone there.

There isn’t very much on the internet about the connection between compartment syndrome and lateral knee pain.  Many doctors will diagnose it as ITBS.  The only reason I resisted this conclusion is that I have ITBS on my right side, and I’ve had both chondromalacia and patellar tendinitis in the past.  This pain in my left knee felt nothing like any of those things.  The final clue was that I’ve been having some strange shooting pains in my foot, toes and ankle.  It’s been minor and transient, but swelling of the anterior tibialis muscle within its compartment can compress nerves in the lower leg.  If the swelling runs out of control, it can result in muscle and/or nerve damage.

That put a nice scare in me.  I’m icing 3 times a day and running only every other day.  I’m allowed to run as long as I have no pain, and my symptoms continually improve.  Of course hills and any kind of speedwork are ruled out, but it’s not as bad a sentence as it could be.  My longest run has been 6 miles so far, pain free.  This week will have to be given over to rehab, but I should be able to log 24 miles, as long as I keep it nice and easy.  I’ll take that.

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One Comment

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  1. Keith Peters / Feb 8 2010 6:46 pm

    Oooh. Nerve damage does sound scary. Please be conservative.

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