Tag Archives: running injuries

Back in Top Form

Screenshot from 2014-03-16 20:38:33

After several weeks of recovering from a knee injury(which I injured in mid January), I am thrilled to report that I am very nearly back in top form. I say this with reservation because one can never be certain about such things, as there is always the risk for re-injury or even a completely new injury. For what it’s worth, I’m getting called a “showoff” again when I joggle around the neighborhood.

As you can see in the chart above, I didn’t run all that much for many weeks. In fact, I actually went 1 week with no running at all due to this injury. Yet last week, I managed to run a total of 68 miles, which is just a few miles short of my all time record. This post describes my recovery program – The long snowy road to recovery

The lesson I’ve learned is to not overdo it. Too much mileage all at once is almost always a bad idea. Running 84 miles over the course of 6 days was a stupid idea, since my body was only used to 50 to 65 miles a week at most.

So if you’re injured, don’t give up! To stay in shape, find something else to do to maintain your fitness. If it is really painful and/or inflamed, make sure you see a doctor though before doing anything. You will likely have to take a lot of time off from your favorite activity, you may even become depressed. Do all you can to keep your spirits up, it’s not the end of the world.

Thanks to everyone for your support. It’s great being able to show how fit a vegan can be again.

Shaming the shamans


Red-crested Pochard – public domain

When you’re injured, every person and even every dog and cat you know offers you advice to help you heal faster. Some of this advice is good. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice I receive is just plain bad, even though the people recommending it may mean well. The advice I receive from dogs and cats is generally better – this is because dogs and cats can detect pseudo-science and charlatanism much better than humans.

No, I don’t want to see your homeopath, reiki-master, shaman, faith-healer, naturopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist or any other quacks. For reasons explained in my post, “There is no magic in joggling“, I am no friend of quackery, which in recent decades has successfully rebranded itself as “alternative medicine” to make it seem legitimate.

I know, I know, so many people claim “but it works for me!”. However, testimonials are worthless, testimonials are not evidence of efficacy. Testimonials were regularly used to promote fraudulent patent medicines a century ago, and these “medicines” were very often nothing but alcohol or colored water.


To a large extent, it is because of the placebo effect that so many sick people feel better after taking fake medicine. Besides this, so many illnesses naturally run their course, like the common cold or allergy symptoms.

Now really, what is the difference between the patent medicine pictured on the right, and nearly everything coming out of the alternative medicine world these days?

Another question: Who here wants to be taken to a homeopath, or a naturopath, or a Reiki-master after getting severely injured in a car accident?

When it comes to evaluating health products, never trust testimonials or advertising. Use PubMed to research health claims. It’s not perfect, but it gives you access to peer-reviewed scientific literature.

If my knee doesn’t get better or the pain gets worse, I will go seek the help of a medical doctor. Shocking, I know.

Longest run and an injury

2014-01-15 09.42.21On Wednesday the 15th, I ran more miles than ever before, completing a 30 mile run in 6:15. I ran as far north as Briarcliff Manor, and ran halfway back to White Plains before taking the train home. It was very foggy, almost dream-like when I started, but the sun came out later during this epic northward run.

The main reason I ran slowly was due to this soreness in my right knee that got increasingly worse after the first half of the run(I was also carrying juice and many energy bars). It seems to be some kind of overuse injury, though I am not sure which one. Running 84 miles in 6 days wasn’t such a great idea after all, though it was hard to resist due to the unseasonably warm weather.

When I stand still, I don’t feel anything in my knee. If I walk, I feel a little bit of soreness in my right knee and the bending movement doesn’t feel as smooth as it used to. If I run, it feels very sore and awkward, like I may pull something and make the injury worse.

2014-01-15 13.28.28

The sun came out later. A meadow near Briarcliff Manor, just after the midway point of the run.

Hopefully, this will heal fast. I’ll stay off it for a few days to a week to see what happens. I’ve been injured many times, and have always recovered to a point that I was even better than before. Ever since tearing the medial meniscus and ACL in my right knee in my mid teens during my first ever “long” run, my right knee has always been my bad knee. As a result, my right knee is usually more sore than my left knee after long runs.

While I recover, I will do a lot of juggling for cardio and a lot of walking if I can manage. I will also strength train my legs. Not being able to run is starting to affect my mood, but I will persevere. Do not worry about me. I hope everyone is having fun with their endurance activities. I got to remember to not over do it!

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and support.

Screenshot from 2014-01-17 12:49:20

10 Days Till Yonkers Marathon

IMG_199610 days to go until the Yonkers Marathon and I am very excited about it. And I got my first black toe. This is very common in distance runners, and it is rarely serious. It is no big deal and I hardly feel any pain around it. Other runners I’ve talked to tell me the best thing to do about it is to do nothing, unless it is very painful or blood starts coming out. It doesn’t interfere with my running at all.

This is what you can expect if you start running 30+ miles per week.

Prolotherapy and knee injuries

If you are a serious runner, it is inevitable that you will either get injured or at least experience soreness from time to time. It happens to even the best of us. The most important thing you can do about injuries is do what you can to prevent them in the first place. Basically, don’t overdo it. Pain is your body’s way of telling you you are overdoing it. Also, strength-train your legs twice a week with ankle weights or resistance bands. Weak muscles may increase your risk of injury, besides preventing you from performing at your best.


The knee. Source – Wikipedia/Gray’s Anatomy

The knees of a runner are especially vulnerable to injury. After running a marathon, many if not most of the runners experience at least some knee soreness, and a significant number will injure or re-injure their knees.

Injuries to the knee may involve the cartilage(meniscii), ligaments, or both. The meniscii in the knees serve as cushioning to absorb shocks and allow for smooth motion within the joint. Ligament is tissue that connects bone to bone. ACL(anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are notoriously common among football players, as well as runners.

Minor ACL injuries can sometimes heal without surgery if physical therapy is undertaken. All too many athletes unfortunately can’t return to sport even after reconstructive ACL surgery.

Serious injuries to knee cartilage often require surgery too. These types of injuries seldom heal at all or may heal very slowly, depending on the age of the athlete. This is because knee cartilage receives very little blood flow to help it heal.

Prolotherapy is sometimes suggested as an “alternative” to surgery for knee and other injuries. At its most basic, it involves injecting an inflammatory agent(often dextrose, which is just another way to say glucose) into the injured area to bring about an inflammatory healing response. So if you hate needles, it may not be for you.

When it comes to prolotherapy and ACL injury, it shows some promise. According to the Department of Biometry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, U.S:

In patients with symptomatic anterior cruciate ligament laxity, intermittent dextrose injection resulted in clinically and statistically significant improvement in ACL laxity, pain, swelling, and knee range of motion.

When it comes to prolotherapy and osteoarthritis(which is similar to “runner’s knee”), the Bethany Medical Center, Kansas City, reports that:

Prolotherapy injection with 10% dextrose resulted in clinically and statistically significant improvements in knee osteoarthritis. Preliminary blinded radiographic readings (1-year films, with 3-year total follow-up period planned) demonstrated improvement in several measures of osteoarthritis severity. ACL laxity, when present in these osteoarthritic patients, improved.

Prolotherapy still isn’t very widely available and is still getting investigated. Insurance providers seldom if ever cover this procedure. It has been studied for use in treating injuries in other parts of the body, with mixed to mostly negative results.

I’ve injured my knees in the past, but luckily they were all minor.

My worst joggling injuries

As Aeschylus once said:

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

Suffering may not be necessary for learning, but suffering is inevitable, especially when it comes to exercise. Since suffering is inevitable, one of the best things we can do is simply learn from it. Almost everyone gets injured while exercising or experiences pain of some sort, so I thought I would share my worst joggling injury stories, and what we can learn from them, since I get asked this a lot.


Many people assume I get injured a lot more often than regular runners since the balls are assumed to be a distraction. Make no mistake about it, they are a “distraction”(or rather an important feature of the exercise), but as you gain experience, you focus on juggling the balls less and less. Overall, I very rarely get injured, even when I joggle at night or joggle while drunk.

As for my worst joggling injuries, it’s a close tie between two incidents from last year: An ankle injury in March, and the time I fell and hurt my hand(the same hand that was broken in a car accident) in August. I sprained my ankle when I started to joggle along the edge of a raised path to get out of someone’s way, just down the street from where I live. My foot slipped, and twisted downward along the edge as I tried to regain my footing, pulling the ankle ligament. It hurt a lot at first, but then the pain subsided. I applied ice when got home.

While it didn’t hurt while walking, it did hurt while running, so I couldn’t joggle for a few weeks to let it heal. During that time I did manage to power-walk while juggling to stay in shape. It’s not as intense as joggling, but it comes close.

The other glorious injury was due to not noticing a sharp rock sticking out of the ground which caused me to trip while out on a mid-day joggle. I dropped the balls while flying forward, and would have landed on my head if I hadn’t used my arms to break my fall. Unfortunately, the palm of my right hand scrapped against another sharp rock as I fell, which caused a big cut that oozed blood.

I quickly got back up, and thought that I could still joggle even with the cut that was dripping blood. It wasn’t especially painful, but it felt awkward juggling blood-soaked balls. There weren’t a lot of people around, but the few people who saw me went “ewww!”. I was only 1.5 miles away from home near the end of a long joggle, so I didn’t have much farther to go anyway.

As soon as I got back home I washed the cut very thoroughly and applied hydrogen peroxide to kill any germs(I also washed the blood off the balls). I then applied some glycerin on the cut and put a band-aid over it. I was able to juggle pretty much pain-free thanks to the band-aid and how quickly it healed. It didn’t prevent me from joggling at all, and it was fully healed in almost 2 weeks. It was like it never happened. Do not take this as an endorsement of joggling with bloody hands!

I’ve experienced similar injuries as a runner many years ago. As I said before, the balls are not a big distraction once you become an experienced joggler. They can even be out-of-focus as you look straight ahead, and at your surroundings as you joggle. Still, I think you should stop juggling and simply carry the balls as you run while crossing streets or if there are a lot of people around and it is difficult to move out of the way.

The last time I fell to the ground(a few weeks ago) while joggling I did it on purpose. In case anyone who witnessed this incident in the park in Tuckahoe is reading this, I did it on purpose! There were a lot of children around, and I couldn’t resist trying to make them laugh, which is one of the best things about joggling. And they did laugh.

The lessons I’ve learned, and relearned from these experiences was to be more mindful of my surroundings, to look more closely at the ground, and to be extra careful near sharp edges along paths. I was kidding about joggling while drunk.