A month ago, I reported that my left knee pain was bad enough that it prevented me from jogging more than three minutes. I decided to rest it for 10-14 days and then resume my training. Well, even after 14 days of rest, the knee still really hurt, even just walking. And this wasn't muscle pain, this was pain in the bones of the joint. (I know the difference.) So last Monday, I saw my doctor and told him. He took some xrays, and reported "degenerative changes to the bone" (I knew that from just feeling the joint move, there is bone-on-bone in the joint) and some spur development under the kneecap (and I knew that, because the type and location of the pain is the same as when I torn my right meniscus seven years ago.)
He asked me, "Which would you prefer, an appointment with a orthopedist or a stronger anti-inflammatory?"
My response: "Yes. Both."
So, now I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in five weeks. And I have a prescription for naproxen. Not OTC Aleve, but prescription strength stuff. I started taking it on Tuesday, and my knee is almost pain free. Not 100%, but at the level where it really is only there when I think about it.
Unfortunately, pain reduction comes with a price. Since Tuesday, I have gained 3.5 pounds. Now, I know that weight is not fat stores. That would have required 12,250 excess calories since Tuesday, and I was within budget all those days. (For comparison, that would mean I ate the equivalent of two of these. Not two pieces. Two entire pizzas. AND three of these.) It is fluid retention. I can accept that. But I don't have to like it. And if it keeps up, I will call my doctor to ask for either an anti-inflammatory with less water retention (I don't think there are any) or a mild diuretic to help get rid of the water.
But I also want to see if the fluid retention is worth it. In other words, is the extra water a necessary evil that will enable me to return to training for the Bellin 10K Run? There is only one way to find out.
"Test run" (literally) of my knee while using naproxen:
Time: 11min 15 sec
Length: 1.0 mile
Average speed: 5.33 mph
Music: A little Karl Jenkins (Palladio, Dies Irae) and Springsteen (Born to Run.)
Result: Knee pain is minimal during and after the run, and certainly did not inhibit my jog distance or speed, in fact I could have gone further, but I had forgotten to use my inhaler, and I was getting very winded.
Conclusion: The knee is stable enough to jog on, but I will use a more balanced approach. I will jog one day and then take the next day off, but if the pain comes back more than the current levels I will stop jogging completely. And I will use my inhaler about 5 minutes before starting my workouts.