Last week, I knew almost nothing about acupuncture. I read a bit about it at Chasing Atalanta when Leah went through her plantar woes during the winter and I knew that it was an old-school science that involved pins, but that was about the extent of my knowledge.
However, something made me think that it might be something to pursue on my road to recovery so on Tuesday, when Dr. Elliott suggested it, I decided to give it a try.
Between Tuesday and today, I realized that I know a lot of runners who have had acupuncture and all of them had only positive things to say about it. That relieved me quite a bit because I hate needles. I really had no idea how it would help or what to expect, other than the needles in my leg would allow more oxygen to travel through my blood.
When I got to the clinic, Marcia, the physiotherapist assessed me first, focusing on the strength and balance of my legs. Everything scored well except for my hamstrings, where there is a huge discrepancy between the strength of my right and left legs. This, she told me, is probably what caused the problem in my right knee; the weak hamstring meant that my right knee was supporting my leg more than it should, which led to the problems that I’m now having with my knee. This made perfect sense to me as it was initially my hamstrings/gastrocnemius that were tight and, suddenly, I ended up with this annoying knee pain.
Acupuncture today, then, focused on my hamstrings – not the knee area. I was quite glad of this for I didn’t want to see the pins in my leg. Instead, I was able to lie on my front and catch a 15 minute nap. Yes, that means there wasn’t any pain.
After Marcia took the needles out, she tested the leg strength in my right ham again and there was a huge difference. Initially, I couldn’t resist her pressure at all; after acupuncture, she could practically stand on my leg and I could support her. This is good news because it means that the problem is probably motor-related and the nerves just aren’t connecting properly; daily strengthening exercises should correct that quickly.
Next week, I’m going back for another session and I’ll continue to see Prem so that he can treat the area where we think there is a tear. This weekend marks the beginning of Week 5 of no running in what was initially a 6 to 8 recovery period. Hopefully, that prognosis is correct and Gastroc is almost ready to hit the roads again.