Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Left Knee Update

For the past two weeks, I've cut way back on the running and cycling mileage to allow the left knee a chance to recover properly from that nagging injury.

For the record, here are the steps I took to get better:

1) Rest: I rested by reducing frequency and restricting all bike rides to less than one hour. In two weeks, I was on Old Yeller twice and the P2sl three times. I ran three times for a grand total of 15 miles. Also reduced leg lifts to about 75% of what I was doing previously. I still swam like a madman.

2) Ice: great stuff. I hope we humans never lose the recipe. An ice bag strapped to the leg for 10 minutes on/off three to five times a day.

3) To reduce inflammation, I just completed taking Ibuprofen for ten days, 4 times daily.

4) Bike fit: I had the LBS professionally fit me to Old Yeller. The seat post height and cleats were apparently good, but I was stretched too extended over the top tube. This caused over-extension in the knee on the down stroke. Solution: a new zero degree seat tube offset and a shorter stem closed the gap.

5) Physical Therapy: I've visited Excel Physical Fitness' Mike Bartels last Friday. (Thanks for recommending him, Matt.) Apparently, the knee injury was a result of a poor hip alignment. Weak muscles in the hip caused the left hip to rotate forward. While not physically smaller, the effect was like having a shorter leg. Without knowing it, I compensated by hyper-extending the left knee. Mike sent me home with some hip strengthening exercises to get things back in balance.

Along the way towards healing I've found that resting often requires some of the most discipline in training when goals and race commitments are on the line. I hope to be back to 100% soon.


  1. Did you tell Mike I recommended him to you? I told you that he does good work.

  2. I did. He does. Also gave creds to Miah for the fitting. Mike B did another fitting with all kinds of technical gadgets, home-made devices and plumb lines. Good stuff. He agreed with Miah's Old Yeller fit. That makes three fittings over two bikes in the past 6 months.

  3. Miah has his stuff together when it comes to fittings. Hopefully I can bribe one out of him before I head to the land of dairy.

  4. He owes you that much at least. You're moving to my old stomping grounds as I was born a cheese head (Wauwatosa, WI). We still go to SW Wisconsin every summer for a family reunion in Hazel Green, WI. Beautiful rolling country there, but I'm not sure what it's like up in Waterloo.

  5. Remember, it's the genes--not the jeans. It think MurphyV1.0-V5.0 get some hip-issues from JohnT, and Grandpa John Francis. It effects me in my stride and I always had hip pain after I ran. Or notice it when/after I play golf.

    Luckily, no knee problems for MurphyV2.0... Maybe the line broke down by the time Son #3 was born.

    Professional bike fit is a godsend and money very well spent. Riding with my gang, one guy always complains how much his back and neck hurts. I was fit on my Tarmac and I get off after a multiple hour ride I feel great.

    One day this winter/spring I rode my ole 82 Trek on a 25 mile ride and my neck & shoulders really hurt @ end of ride as it's set up differently.

    Don't feel any pain on the fixie because I rarely ride it for more than 6 miles at at clip--when I commute--or just to the grocery store, and once to a bar with my father in law. It's great to roll along 17 mph on my 39x15.

    Healing now is much better than trying to heal right before a race...

  6. You're right about the genes and hip issue thingy. I've noted Dad has tightness in his hips and Trendy has had "tight IT Band" syndrome in the past, which is the old school way of saying that they weren't exactly sure but blamed it on the IT. PT was able to confirm this through stretching and resistance that the hip was more likely the culprit and IT was not tight. Hey -- light bulb moment! That's why Murphy brothers can't dance worth a crap! After the hip alignment is corrected, look out dancing with the stars 'cause here comes steel-cut!

    $75 for a bike fit is definitely money well spent. You may think that you're throwing money out the window, but if you're going on long rides, it just makes sense to tune the bike to your strengths rather than fighting the inefficiencies and have pain (injury) to deal with afterwards.

    As for the fixed gear, have you mastered the hop-skid on it yet? You're like a he-man when it comes to leg muscle, so it aught to be no prob. Just make sure that you wear a helmet and try on a quiet street before going public with it.