Depression due to recurring injury issues

Been on this forum so many times for one stupid niggle or another. Never anything major - just enough to make running uncomfortable. Last 5 years have been a cycle of 'fix the niggle'; back to running; pick up another niggle; rest; back to running; and repeat.

I am so sick of it. I took a month off exercise at the end of last year to try to rest everything and then used the 025K programme to get myself back very very gradually. Now picked up a sore knee [nothing specific - just enough that running is painful and I don't enjoy it].

Resting this week, by not running and using an elliptical indoors to do some sort of activity. I also do 15 mins stretching at the start and end of each working day, on advice from my physio.

I'm wfh so spend all day M-F in the kitchen. Up until this week, I used my running to get rid of the frustrations of work and just to get out of the house. It was something to look forward to, even if my knee was sore.

Trouble is that now, I spend a lot of time crying with the frustration of being cooped up and not able to get out for a run to relieve the tension. I am so envious of my fellow runners who are enjoying themselves - running for miles, running for the hell of it, running without any pain. When will it be my turn? I have been a runner since I was 18 [I'm 56 now] and have no patience with this situation. I almost wish I'd break a leg and then I'd have something 'serious' to prevent me running instead of 'a sore knee'.

Need a 'hand-hold' really? :'(


  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Ftm42, if I was allowed to give you a big hug I would do.

    I can completely understand where you are coming from. And even as I write that I realise that it's not much help. I 'suffer' from depression, my GP is brilliant, have you seen yours? I also, through a running friend found a fab counsellor who really understands when I can't run because of injury and the impact on my mental health. 

    It's tough, I am not going to deny that, but life can become easier, and there is life away from running, I know because I have had to find it.

    I wish you well,
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Hi TT - thanks. Just can't seem to stop crying. My running is my anti-depressant so I feel completely lost without it. Doesn't help that I have 3 grown up boys and a totally non-exercising husband, none of whom sympathise in the slightest with a menopausal, depressed, running- and sleep-deprived middle aged female.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Ftm42, given what you have written about crying all the time please refer yourself to the CMHT. They have spare capacity at the moment because they are working remotely and can change over appointments more quickly. It might still be a few weeks but the sooner you refer the sooner you can be in the queue. You don't need to see your GP to refer.

    I totally understand running being your anti depressant. Also, being menopausal, have you seen your GP for help? One of my GP friends highly recommends HRT (and she uses it herself!) We have a nurse who specialises in the menopause and can sort out prescriptions, again saves seeing the GP. 

  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Sadly, I can't take HRT, as I had breast cancer 16 years ago. I have tried pessaries though and they didn't make any difference at all.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    I'm not even sure if I'm using 'depressed' as a clinical diagnosis - or if I'm just being a miserable old sow iyswim?! Maybe 'frustrated' is a better word than 'depressed' - never sure where you draw the line.
  • ftm42: my sympathies. If you're a runner and you can't run it's normal to feel frustrated/depressed about it (speaking from repeated experience - and believe me you really don't want the broken leg). Even more so if it's your usual coping mechanism! It's not the same, but have you tried guided meditation or relaxation?
    Regarding the knee, vague knee pain may be related to tight quads/ITB - if I get knee pain I use a massage stick on my outer quads and the leg with the sore knee is always tighter than the other, and a good massage with the stick really helps me.
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    No advice but a massive virtual hug. It sounds frustrating and lonely being you during this lockdown. Keep venting if it helps. I recognise all the responders here as fellow injury experts   :)
  • ftm42, I'm so sorry to hear your injured again and frustrated. I empathises entirely. Running has always been my anti-depressant as well. But sadly I experienced a knee tendon/bursitis injury a month ago and I don't think I'll be running again for a few months. Have you tried cycling if it doesent aggravate your knee? I know its not the same as running but It can maintain your fitness and also build leg strength. Also, it could be that your trainers are causing you to get injured. Maybe they are causing you to heel strike. This creates unnatural forces through your joints. Perhaps try a thin soled trainer that allows forefoot running. Or If your feeling really adventurous, try complete barefoot running on grass! Studies show that your far less likely to get injured and you might even run faster. Anyway, good luck and stay safe.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    Trying to rest and not inflame my knee. Both hurt today and I've now picked up a twinge in my inner hip, despite doing stretching/strengthening exercises every day. I can feel twinges when I turn over in bed or pick something up off the floor. Any sudden movement at all seems to set something off. I'm taking supplements daily and doing all I can.

    It never seems to be anything major, just a low level ache that just won't go, even if I rest / cycle / use elliptical / walk. What is WRONG with me? I feel old and over the hill, when aerobically I'm as fit as you like.My body is just such a pain right now. This has been going on for years now - constant cycle of hurt / rest / return gradually [using 025K]; hurt / rest and repeat. How long do you have to wait until you just say forget it, when all I can see is other runners who are heavier than me / have really strange gaits / are much much older and i just wonder how they are running when I can't get back to running pain-free.

    Maybe I just need to strap up and take pain killers from now on?

    Sorry - bit ranty, but that's how I feel! Just looked at my stats for this year - avg weekly 18km. FFS (11 miles!)
  • ftm: sympathies again. {{{HUG}}} At this point I would suggest a programme of daily yoga (only needs to be 10-15 minute, and if you aim for every day then it turns into 4-5 per week, that's still helpful - or it has been for me) plus running-specific strength exercises and maybe proprioceptive (balancing) exercises, to help sort out any imbalances, tightnesses etc. You may find that this helps - you may also find that it helps pinpoint a specific problem (e.g. in your back) that can be looked at further, medically. Meanwhile, can you go for walks, preferably somewhere in green surroundings? Shoes are also something to consider. If you can find a nice flat area of mown grass, then it's worth trying a little barefoot run and seeing how that feels.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi ftm42, this might sound like a daft idea but have you considered asking a physio to do a complete body review? If they find something then you can work on it, if they find nothing then consult a sports physiologist? I know it sounds daft but they can really help.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    RANT AHEAD! :'(

    Here I go again. Back and hips went into spasm this morning. Spent the day dosed up on anti-inflammatories. Done some stats on my running to see if I can spot any trends, but it just makes very demoralising reading.

    Last 6 months average 12.5 miles a week; 4 runs a week, so hardly running at all. Average speed 9.7kph so not fast either.

    My last run was Friday night - 10K 'virtual trail run' which felt fine, apart from a misjudged jump off a gate, when I landed heavily and jarred my f'g knee [again] [by coincidence, my medal's just dropped through the door, so a bit happier now]. It felt fine after some RICE treatment, but decided not to do any exercise Sat/Sun, to rest up.

    I'm hardly running at all, so I get a bit fed up when people keep telling me to rest more. I run every other day and have done for months now, so I really can't see what more rest I should be taking? I'm resting all the f'g time! I even tried taking a month off at the end of last year and worked myself back 'up' [to 12 miles a week, big deal] using the C25K programme.

    I am doing elliptical [cross-trainer] for full-body low-impact workouts, pilates, physio exercises or stretching every single day [not doing all of those by the way - the elliptical 2/3 times a week, between running, but stretches daily]. Taking vitamins / glucosamine etc daily.

    I will just blame it on the menopause and start taking anti-inflammatories all the time. Otherwise, I feel like I'll just disappear. I can hardy run less, as I'm hardly running at all. Sorry - very down today. :'(
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭

    Recovered from back issues. Did session on elliptical yesterday before breakfast which was fine. Then went out this morning for a pre-breakfast 5K. At 4.5 k I got cramp. Stopped and eased it out with some gentle stretching and thought I'd be OK to walk/jog the last 400m home. WRONG!

    I felt a twang and now my calf has 'gone'. Never had that happen to me before. :'(

    One thing after another. Running and I are just not getting along any more.
  • ftm42, I feel your pain. I spent nearly 11 years (sorry) trying to figure out why I kept getting calf pulls. I went to see umpteen different physios, podiatrists who made me £280 orthotics, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, I went for 3D gait analysis at Salford University that cost a few hundred quid, I was a "problem Patient" at my local hospital in their Physio department for 18 months and Nobody could pinpoint why it was happening. I was told to strengthen my calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes but it kept happening. THEN, I was reading an article by James Dunne on the KINETIC REVOLUTION website, and he said that your Glutes should be the major player when it comes to running. Apparently, I was propelling myself forward using my calf muscles, instead of my glutes. Because I sit all day driving trains, and cycle a lot too, my glutes had become weak and were not being used. My calves were doing all the work, but at a cost, ie Calf Pulls. I used to feel like crying too, as all I wanted to do was run. Not world record pace or distance. I struggled to get my glutes working at first, but after time they began to wake up and now I use them when I run. I haven't had a problem since July 6th 2019. The article was called "It's all in the Hips". I didn't think I'd ever get to run consistently again, but an article I read told me what plenty of professionals didn't. Don't give up, as someone , somewhere will find the answer to your problems.
    Good luck xx
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Thanks calamari boy. That sounds exciting! As it happens, all these issues seem to have coincided with two things:
    1. menopause - which I assume is not your issue!
    2. taking up a f-t desk job, which I have always thought might be a cause of my recurring issues, but I have always blamed the M-word
    I've looked up the website and will have a trawl through. Like you, I have felt like [and have actually] cried loads in frustration as these issues seem so minor, but persistently stop me from doing what I love.

    I will also mention the website to my physio, as I've messaged her today to ask for a zoom / facebook consultation to discuss things. She knows my history and often fixes me up, only for something else to twang. She is also a member of the same running club so has always been keen to get me back running, whenever she can.
  • I clench my butt cheeks when I run, and that engages my glutes. Feels a bit strange at first, but you soon get used to it. And I can feel the difference as I run. His website has so much info on it, that you can spend hours looking at different articles. VERY, VERY informative website. I just hope you find the answer to your problems. Keep trying and good luck x
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Ftm42, just a suggestion, can you ask for a standing desk? I had one for four years and it was great, went up and down electronically and meant I could do calf raises while answering emails and squats while on the 'phone (I refused video conferencing!)
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Last year I discussed standing desks with our Occupational Therapist. Her summary was that I didn't need one as it would encourage me to either stand in one place for too long, or sit in one place for too long! Even though I know at least 2 colleagues who have one, but of course she could not discuss their issues with me as they might have different issues to mine. When one of these colleagues left, I asked if I could have her desk, to find that the new boss had already bagged it. Even though policy is supposed to dictate that when a specialist piece of equipment becomes spare, it goes back into storage for all of us to have the chance to ask for it. I was not impressed. Now that I'm at home, I cab get up and walk up and down the garden every so often, but do find that if I'm engrossed or v busy, even an alarm won't get me up, as I need to finish something off first.

    I bought a 'active cushion' week or so ago, which is supposed to help your core, but I don't really have any core issues to speak of so it doesn't have much effect. 

    I have considered one of these? - in fact, scrub that - they do a free trial offer, so I've ordered one! If it works while I'm wfh, I can try putting in a request at work, but being a local council, they'll be a bit short of cash this year for stuff like this! Still, as it goes the chances are I will be wfh more than in the office from now on anyway, so might help in the long term.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Calamari boy - not a piece of advice I thought I'd ever hear!!  :open_mouth:
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    I also had Bluetooth headphones, mine were provided, but many colleagues bought their own when they realised I could walk round while on the telephone.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Horrible 24 hours! Started reading a Jeff Galloway book about running after 50; attended a seminar on similar topic [whilst holding a heated pad across my stomach due to awful cramps that lasted all day] last night.

    Still felt rubbish after, so decided to walk the dog. I've been walking a bit [limping] and planned to not run or do anything more than the odd walk until this Friday. I've been into town and back with a sholley full of groceries during the week, so seemed to be easing off fine.

    Got 50 yards and my calf popped again!  No idea why it decided to just go again. Wrote to my physio and am back using a walking stick, partly as my right hip is seizing up again, as I'm taking weight on my right, in order to keep it off my left leg.

    One thing after another for me. I feel frustrated and tired and old.

    Still - positive thoughts: when I'm mended [again], I plan to follow the Jeff-ing run/walk technique for a while, just to get fit again, or maybe forever. If my body is currently this fragile, there's no point in carrying on running the way I have [i.e. running the whole way] up to now. I HAVE to accept that my body just isn't ready for anything. I have tried supplements, physio, pilates, resting for weeks, cross-training, yadayada and NOTHING works.

    Maybe I just have a set of genes that have allowed me to run for >35 years without too many issues and I'm just getting too old to do it any more.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Not sure where I am right now. Need a hand-hold? Hubby is useless as he is a total non-exerciser and just doesn't get it.

    VO2 max is plummeting according to my garmin [I know it will come back when I get going again and it doesn't seem to take elliptical sessions into account much]; weight is creeping up; mental health is deteriorating.

    Nearly 3 weeks on from suspected calf tear and I just don't feel like an achiever any more. I wanted to be able to say that at the end of lockdown I'd be fitter [don't care about faster] and running pain free, but just going from one pain to the next one. I'm using an elliptical machine at home to keep me fit, but it just doesn't give me the same fitness level as running as I can't work out hard enough due to my stupid calf tear. I did do a run/walk session last Friday, while the dog was in the groomers, which felt fine, and was lovely to get out in the fresh air again, but I'm too scared to do it regularly.

    I wake up exhausted [I don't sleep and am up several times a night for other reasons - menopause related?!], stiff and sore - despite pilates / physio stretches. I'm using the elliptical instead of going out to run and I've lost the will to walk the dog as my hips hurt. Physio has now advised no running until I can run upstairs pain free. Since the big 5-0, I have never been able to do that! It's as if as soon as I entered this decade everything started to drop off.

    I'm so sick of reading all those posts from fellow club runners - "hey I did 13 miles before breakfast"; and I cry if someone runs past me while I'm walking the dog.

    My parents are now in their 80s and all I can think of is that I have another 30 years of feeling sore and achy all the time. I am losing my patience with life right now. Work is boring - wfh and most of my strategic work is now on hold as there's no point in planning anything.

    However - I have to try to focus on recovery and try to see that as being my 'positive'? I have a sports massage booked for the weekend, which I hope will help de-stress [although she'll have to avoid my calf obviously] and I hope to get some advice re further recovery.

    Please reassure me that it will get better? Sorry I'm so down, but I don't feel I can post this kind of thing anywhere else.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Ftm42, virtual hug on its way. I do feel for you, when you write what has happened I can really understand why you feel as you do. 

    I hope your massage makes some difference. I know it is tough to consider the positives, and that it might feel like there are none.

    Hugs, we are here for you. 
  • I feel your pain.. ive had a soleus injury on and off for almost 1 year.
    Have you tried to include strengthening exercises into your routine, squats, lunges bridging ect..?
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Update - doing pilates almost every day and esp before/after runs; jeffing a bit to keep my knees feeling better; taking supplements; seen sports massuese; and - guess what?!

    Another niggle! This time occasional sharp pain below the knee, which feels a bit like a knitting needle being pushed upwards? Makes me wince a bit momentarily, then it's fine and I'm OK again and off and running normally. Seems to happen more when going uphill than down, but really not sure. It seems pretty indiscriminate.

    I've struggled to stay hydrated during the hot summer, I still don't sleep well, though GP has prescribed tablets to help and anti-depressants [menopause is such a joy].

    Sometimes I wake with stiff hips, sometimes I'm absolutely fine; sometimes my knees hurt a lot, sometimes just an ache. So unpredictable. I hate being menopausal - I'm pretty certain that's what it is now.
  • > @ftm42 said:
    > Update - doing pilates almost every day and esp before/after runs; jeffing a bit to keep my knees feeling better; taking supplements; seen sports massuese; and - guess what?!
    > Another niggle! This time occasional sharp pain below the knee, which feels a bit like a knitting needle being pushed upwards? Makes me wince a bit momentarily, then it's fine and I'm OK again and off and running normally. Seems to happen more when going uphill than down, but really not sure. It seems pretty indiscriminate.
    > I've struggled to stay hydrated during the hot summer, I still don't sleep well, though GP has prescribed tablets to help and anti-depressants [menopause is such a joy].
    > Sometimes I wake with stiff hips, sometimes I'm absolutely fine; sometimes my knees hurt a lot, sometimes just an ache. So unpredictable. I hate being menopausal - I'm pretty certain that's what it is now.

    Hey ftm, sorry to hear about your struggles! I'm a PT who's really passionate about trying to get to the bottom of common issues and I'd love to help where I can. In terms of knee pain, I find it best to think of it as a consequence of something else. Anatomically, the knee is stuck in between the ankle and the hip and governed by the low back. So any attempts to nail your knee complaint needs to be met with some exercises to address whatever the underlying issues are above and below the knee. Based on what you've said above, I wouldn't be surprised if your mid-low back is causing both your knee pain and the random hip stiffness. There's a spot in the spine at the base of your rib cage/top of your lower back that has neural connections to your hips, and also to the nerve that runs down the front of your leg towards the knee. Dysfunction here can create a whole range of random, peripheral issues that may also amplify those other things your dealing with.

    Sorry, I know it's a lot of information to throw at you, and I can see that you're doing pilates, but I would also strongly suggest you look into freeing up the joints of your mid/low back with a roller/lacrosse ball (different to getting a massage for muscle tightness). Something like the couch stretch may also be highly valuable for you to do if you aren't already doing so. I'd love to be able to give you some more specific advice, but hopefully there's a few extra ideas to look into if you aren't already. I have a whole bunch of videos that would hopefully shed some more light on things, but I'll refrain from just posting them here without permission!

    Genuinely hope that helps in some small way!
  • Thank you! I've been feeling very down and frustrated lately with what I presume is wrist tendonitis on my left wrist, which is preventing me from doing calisthenics. I’ve been diagnosed with compartmental syndrome. It’s been tough to train and wanted to compete in a couple marathons. To have one day it doesn’t bother me, then the next I can’t walk properly
  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    ftm42, I'm +1 with Grantpt re your ongoing probs, and a lot of what you have suffered echoes my own injury history, unspecified pains in the leg/knee etc.

    You said "I have tried supplements, physio, pilates, resting for weeks, cross-training, yadayada and NOTHING works." but no weight related exercises? After a year of my r leg giving way and then a feeling that my l foot was frozen a MRS scan revealed nothing. My daughter, a MSK Pt then suggested a lower back exercise regime using weights plus lots of squats with weights - worked well!

    An up-to-date with modern techniques PT should be able to give you a diagnosis and exercise regime, perhaps with even just a phone consultation.

    ps as a 70+ with years of running behind me and ahead of me I hope, I would just say don't give up, you can make yourself better.
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