Ever Heard of this One? …. Fat Pad Impingement

fat pad impingement

Fat pad impingement…what?!?

It’s been hard to think about what to write when it comes to running over the last couple of weeks. Yep, I know, my blog is new. And starting it coincided with an injury I nor any other runner I know has ever heard of.

It began 6 weeks ago. I was less than a mile into a run, going downhill and I tripped over a tree root. I hit the ground hard. Right knee and elbow bleeding. Covered in dirt from head to toe, I limped home. I thought with a bit of rest, stretching and rolling, I’d be back to action. A week later, pain started on the outside of my knee by mile 9. More rest and more stretching.

A week later by mile 4 I was stopping to stretch hoping the pain would go away. It didn’t. The following week there was pain after half a mile. It was time to see my physio, a great guy, though one I wish I didn’t have to see quite so often. He gave me the diagnosis – lateral fat pad impingement. Huh?

I got home and did a bit of research. Sometimes after a forceful and direct impact to the kneecap, the fat pad sitting under the knee becomes pinched between the distal thigh bone and the kneecap. That would explain the pain. It’s not one of those injuries that eases up over a few miles but instead gets worse. It can get better, albeit slowly.

There’s something about being told not to do something that makes me want to do it all the more. So when I’m told not to run for a few days and then only a few miles, my brain goes into a bit of frenzy. My thoughts swing from bargaining (if I can run without pain, I will do core exercises), to denial (it doesn’t really hurt that much), to depression (life sucks). On the bus on the way to work I find myself gazing enviously at early morning runners.

This weekend I was able to run again. Only a little over three miles yesterday, a bit over 4 today. I’m planning a big total this week of 15 miles. Better than nothing. So what did I think about when I was running, apart from how’s my knee. On the bad side, I realised I’ve lost a lot of fitness and feel wobbly in bits where I was not so wobbly 6 weeks ago. Hills suck even more than they did. On the good side, the weird injury I’d never heard of might just have given me the kick I need to run more trails. Hopefully I’ll manage to skip the tree roots next time.

Feel free to share any weird and wonderful injuries you’ve had? And how you dealt with not being able run because of an injury.

(August 2014)

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