Fearing the need for surgery, I put off seeing a doctor and lay off running. No improvement.
The start? An Ironman – a swim of 2.4 miles, a bike ride of 112 miles and then a marathon – a 26.2 mile run; all within 17 hours and scheduled for October 20, 2012. Then there was the local marathon in Atlanta the following weekend. The weekend after that was the Savannah Marathon in which my wife and I had participated the previous year in its inaugural running, so how could we miss that? And the next weekend? The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon – one of my favorites and conveniently close to home so I have to run that one, right? (this completes what my wife would call the four-pete)
It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t let life take over during the Ironman training period. Big mistake. Huge. So, I had calculated what training I needed to do just to finish the Ironman. The following weekend would be a “recovery” marathon – nice and easy. By the following weekend in Savannah, I’d be mostly recovered, right? So I ran it a little faster than the weekend before. Ditto for Chickamauga. Only thing though I was noticing increased tightness in upper leg muscles and a nagging feeling that I was doing something a little over-the-top (duh) – something that was not going to end well. During the last marathon the muscles were quite a bit tighter so I did some rudimentary stretching. But within the ensuing couple weeks I noticed a popping in my left knee whenever I walked. Not good. So I rest. No running. But then there’s the Georgia Marathon in March 2013 for which I’m already signed up. I get through it but afterwards notice a pain in my right knee. Contrary to others’ suggestion, I refuse to let age be the excuse (I’m 52, btw). More rest. Fearing the need for surgery, I put off seeing a doctor and lay off running except for the occasional short, easy run to test the knees. No improvement.
Finally, in July 2013 I see a doctor in Atlanta specializing in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (he treats Atlanta Falcons!) and after poking and prodding around my knees and suspecting a torn meniscus in the left and bursitis in the right, instead of recommending surgery, he prescribes physical therapy. At the time, I’m commuting to a contract job in Memphis. This is where David Grigsby comes into the story. Out of the several places listed as locations where I could seek PT in the Memphis area and as luck would have it, the only one I walked into was Midsouth Orthopaedic Rehab. Immediately after entering and seeing the qualifications and recognitions on the walls, I feel relieved. The last thing I wanted to have was someone to tell me that the “solution” was to stop running. Instead, David being a runner himself, worked with me to find a real solution, which involved very specific types of stretches targeting the problem areas for me. I could go on and on describing David’s enthusiasm for his profession and the authentic desire to find the right solution for every person he sees. Instead, I’ll just say that being a fellow small business owner, it’s refreshing to see someone care so much about the work that they do.
David treated me for a couple months starting in August 2013. When I showed up at his door, my left knee was swollen and continued to pop whenever I attempted to walk normally. Because of this, I used my left quadriceps less to ease the pull (and pain) on the knee resulting in a 5-10 degree bend in the knee even when “straightened”. Because of the decreased use, the quad atrophied. This had been sort of a snowballing, chicken-and-the-egg problem. Meanwhile, refusing to be ignored, the right knee was still sore and bursitis-y. David addressed each issue through stretches and exercises, gradually honing in on the ones that were most effective in relieving not just the pain but more importantly the underlying causes, and continually adjusted the stretches and exercises as progress was made.
Since being “released” and as of December 2014, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost the 25 lbs I gained due to lack of exercise, run 4 more marathons (nos. 58-61, including being a St. Jude Hero a few weeks ago!) and completed my 8th Ironman and all of this while being Ibuprofen free! I’m also looking forward to continuing my marathoning, Ironmaning and all-round craziness for many years to come. Of course with a little more stretching thrown in.
Thank you David!
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