Update on My Greatest Injury

*** WARNING: BLOOD SOAKED IMAGE AT END OF POST ***

The lovely Rhona from Redwinerunner was recently clearly stalking my back catalogue and happened upon the details of my unfortunate injury on a training weekend. Its the most extreme damage I've ever done whilst running, or indeed ever. She asked some questions about healing, about running, and about how it looks now. She also encouraged me to write about it, so here I am!

The short version of the story is: I fell on a run during a training weekend in October 2011; we were on the trails around Inversnaid; I hit rock; I didn't realise the wound was so bad; then I looked down. My knee was wrecked and I was eventually airlifted to hospital after being boated across the loch. The resulting injury was a mix of laceration damage and a displaced kneecap, it required lots of cleaning and stitches. If you want the full version you can get it here.

I had an inch deep laceration, running across the curve at the top of the knee, with a shallower rip downwards to create a sort of 3 point pattern. The brunt of the fall had also displaced the kneecap into the tissue below it. The treatment was enthused cleaning with iodine (when they say scrub a wound they mean scrub), replacing the kneecap where it belonged, a few internal stitches and many external ones. I was also x-rayed but nothing was out of place there. The cleaning bit really hurt.

So, how did I heal it? At first with supreme stupidity. I had a stick for a week or two, and a lot of painkillers that I didn't take because they made me dizzy and nauseated. I ripped open the stitches twice moving house and once whilst tripping. After the stitches came out, I ran too soon afterwards (in November! I'm a total wang). This should really be the guide on how not to heal major lacerations. Running after this was complete utter monstrous idiocy. There is no way that all the internal damage was healed. Although I will point out the hospital had no real idea of what advice to give regarding running again.

In between the running and the moving my knee got infected and again burst open a little, oozing goo. Thankfully I have no images of this. I got antibiotics and it finally scabbed over. I gave it a while to properly heal, then started training again. During this training I developed ongoing ITBS problems big time, and accompanying tight hips. Physios suggested that the new instability in this knee was contributing to pronation, and cross over in my gait, whereas before I had been a neutral runner.

Roughly a few months after this is where I finally start to do things right. I got new shoes, better designed for my new gait. I kept seeing that physio, whom I really liked. I started doing the squats and the stretches and taking care. And that's what I'm doing (sometimes better or worse depending on the week, lets not lie here) to this day. I now do a lot of cross training too- I'm unsure if that would have always helped my running health, or if it particularly helps because of this. A good deal of the cross training I do has squatting in it. I also halt quickly if I feel ITBS issues. I had years of wretched frustration over it. For example this week I had the classic 'side-of-knee-feels-weird; sort of prickly and detached', and as a result I'm not running this week until my race, I'm playing it safe.

As for the scar tissue- it can be weird in winter, almost seems to stiffen up. This can be annoying as its over the knee. It has also grown into an ugly mark, but thankfully I'm not bothered by scars- its a mark of where I've been. I still get questions on it at races as its much more dramatic when cold, turning raised and purple as opposed to white. I did try Bio Oil but it seemed to neither soften nor reduce the scar appearance so I stopped eventually. The scarred tissue also seems to injure much more easily than other flesh- bouldering tore a hole in the scar line the other day, and I was careful to wash it properly.

This is what it looks like now:

This is upside down compared to the below graphic photo. 

So you can see its at the top of the knee. The scar is a lot less wide (was originally quite long, see below), the connection between the top line and the lower one has gone (it still had both lines originally), and you can see the puckered tissue of the scar line itself.

I'll put my questions here, in case you are blood phobic!

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Have you ever had a major injury? What was it? How did you heal?



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Image after the jump is of my leg without stitches, in the middle of getting cleaned. It was deeper than this shows because this image shows it bleeding. Image is COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY NSFW, CHILDREN, THE ELDERLY, ANYONE OF WEAK DISPOSITION, YOUR MUM, ANYONE SCARED OF BLOOD AND GORE. If you have a HEART ATTACK, NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTURBANCE ETC NONE OF IT IS MY FAULT AS YOU CHOSE TO SEE THIS.

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I told you.


12 Comments:

  1. That is pretty epic! I smashed my left knee into a rock while mountain biking and ripped a chunk of soft tissue off my knee. Cue loads of stitches which I removed myself (cos I'm an idiot), oozy pus and loads of pain for months afterwards. About five years later, I was knocked off my bike by a car running a red light and did the exact same thing to the same knee.

    I also fell down a stairs and crushed my To vertebrae but that was pure clumsiness on my part.

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    1. Jeez! Youve done yourself some harm overall!

      I was really tempted to remove my own stitches couldn't get an appt and when I finally did they were practically embedded!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  2. Bloody hell, you don't do injuries by half do you?? That's was just from running?? Are you safe to be mountain hiking bearing in mind the damage you can do to yourself just by running lol.

    That's a pretty epic cut, glad to see you're back on your feet!!

    Dale

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    1. My mum said the same ha ha, running is too dangerous for me, best stick to walking!

      At least it makes it an extreme sport! She wont be happy about the climbing...

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  3. Holy knee hole batman!!! Bleurgh, that's one mighty fine injury you had there. Gutted that I didn't read your blog back then, might have to go and have a rummage through your old posts to see what else I missed :-). It's interesting that your scar tissue seems to injure much more easily than the rest of the area. I don't really have much knowledge about stuff like that but I find it fascinating. A friend of mine broke her leg in a bike accident and in 6 weeks of not walking on it, her calf muscle has wasted away to nothing. I know she'll build it back up again but it's scary shizz how quickly it happened!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh gosh thats terrifying! I hated being on a stick so cant imagine how much she hated a cast.

      Yeah it is odd, Im unsure why but wiki suggests this could be why- the structure is weaker: " Scar tissue is composed of the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it replaces, but the fiber composition of the protein is different; instead of a random basketweave formation of the collagen fibers found in normal tissue, in fibrosis the collagen cross-links and forms a pronounced alignment in a single direction.[1] This collagen scar tissue alignment is usually of inferior functional quality to the normal collagen randomised alignment."

      Interesting! Bodies are so odd!

      Delete
  4. Oh my goodness! How on earth did I miss this?? Have been following your blog for AGES!! That is an extreme injury! Does it affect your climbing??

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    1. This was ages ago though! 2013 or so :). It doesnt so far, but that isnt to say it wont eventually when harder routes mean I need to be a contortionist :)

      Delete
  5. Holy cow that is a crazy sick looking battle wound. Glad you are better now. I would have freaked out seeing that open gash on my leg.

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    1. Im not at all blood phobic BUT I did actually pass out when they tweezed the kneecap back into place- just felt far, far too odd to deal with! I think my brain was just like 'nope I am out'.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  6. I can relate to that injury, including the bloody picture at the end. I was running behind on training and I thought I could squeeze in a few days of training over the weekend. I skipped by usual safety precautions checklist and hit the road. Needless to say I wiped out too, ripping my knee wide open and requiring 17 stitches. Hope you are feeling better soon!

    Tyron Tanaka @ Low And Canata

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    Replies
    1. That sounds blooming sore! Hope its all healed now?

      Delete

 
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