On day five of 2011, I whiffed on two exercise goals for the year: I got injured, which meant I wasn’t able to finish my DiY Tri week.
I did an Olympic distance triathlon Monday with no problems. Tuesday I ran and biked a little, less than an hour total, slow and easy. Wednesday I woke up with a sore right knee: it felt like a bruise, or maybe stiff from sleeping on it funny, but moved okay. I decided to go ahead with my half-iron tri. Swimming went fine; in fact, by the time I was done, my knee wasn’t hurting at all. It was a pretty nice day (low 30s, little wind) so I suited up and started cycling outside. About five miles in, my knee started to hurt again. Nothing serious. I rode 20 miles outside and headed inside to the trainer as the wind picked up. After about 10 miles inside, things crossed over from “uncomfortable” to “painful” rather quickly, and I decided to stop. I iced my knee, and knocked my head against the wall a little. My knee was tender, but still moved okay. Later, I applied a few beers.
Thursday morning, my knee really hurt. It was hard to walk. Going down the stairs was awful. I called my GP and got an appointment about two hours later. (Amazing.) She ran through a battery of motion tests and diagnosed an inflamed plica. That was a quite a relief: no ligament damage, no symptoms of tendinitis, no apparent issues with my meniscus, either. (I asked twice: ligaments okay? patellar tendon? meniscus? Yes. I sure hope that’s true.)
I went home and did some research and found this description of plica syndrome which includes an image that spotlights the location I felt pain exactly. What’s still not clear (as my GP noted): why this flared up now. Plica problems usually appear in children, not adults. Years ago, I had some knee pain from running, though the diagnosis I got was patellofemoral syndrome. I found a few discussions in the literature which suggested an injury could lead to plica inflammation. Maybe I whacked my knee when I was cleaning house last weekend, or making beer Tuesday. Maybe it’s just simple over-training. Either way, I’ll back off and see what happens. At this point (Friday night), I’m happy to say my knee seems to be improving quickly. I’m disappointed I didn’t get the big tri done this week. Perhaps this is a cue to get that triathlon book and get systematic and ensure I have another chance.