I've successfully completed a handful of pain-free 10-20 min runs in the last couple weeks. My ART guy keeps warning me that 2-3 miles is my max for a while, even it feels ok.... he threatens with his harsh ART hands, so I listen. But, truthfully, calling it quits after 20 min of running is fine with me because daaaang did I lose my cardio fitness fast! Ouch! And I'm running at about an 8:30 pace. Sort of depressing. But, again, all part of the challenge. On the flip side, I'm noticing some major strength/balance/flexibility gains from all my other working out/rehab stuff. I'm also cycling and swimming a little more, so I'm keeping sane. Noiiice.
One of the treatments I got for my ITB/knee is a little sumthin called prolotherapy. Yes, it's a shot, but, no, it's not some crazy steroid or potentially risky quick-fix injection. It's safe! I'd never heard of prolo until my sports med doc recommended it; he's a kick-butt triathlete whom I trust tons. Did a little research, and I was sold.
So what just is "prolo," as it's called...
First off, prolo is short for proliferation, which means growth/creation. Essentially, a prolo shot repairs damaged or weak tissue (i.e. a ligament, tendon) by creating new, stronger tissue. The shot itself is comprised of a dextrose solution (just sugar water!) and it's administered directly into the damaged area; in my case, the lateral side of my knee at the IT Band.
Once injected, the prolo goes to work almost immediately by causing inflammation. Yes, inflammation, which can actually be a good thing--t's the body's natural wound-healing process; in other words, its way of mobilizing an army of healing agents to a damaged area to do some major repair work. As a result, you see increased swelling from all that "stuff" (trying not to be too sciency) doing it's healing work, not to mention it hurts. But, again, inflammation is our friend here.... it results in the creation of new tissues, mostly collagen, and thus a more robust ligament.
The inflammation can last up to three days and can be quite painful; although, it was less for me. After that, tissue formation and strengthening continues for a while. In the meantime, pain from the injury can decrease rapidly and workouts/activities can resume to some degree... I ran (briefly) about five days after my shot. Three to four weeks after the initial treatment, it's recommended to get another prolo shot, and maybe even a third shot several weeks later depending on the injury repair, pain, etc.
Prolo is also used for chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. My doctor is one of the few in the OC area who offers it, and he has a lot of success stories associated with prolo. I have yet to read any harmful side effects, so if you know of any, don't tell me.... JK. I'd like to know any opinions/thoughts/stories on this treatment!
Also, fyi: Personally, I'm not going to credit prolo to my recovery (I'm not better yet!), and I don't want to say it's a quick fix because it's not--yes, you can start running again sooner than maybe expected, but no way will you get back to double-digit running mileage within a week. In the end, I think prolo is a safe, helpful element in this whole recovery process, as is good old fashioned hard work in the gym and on the ART table and on the couch resting :)
Here's a link to more prolo resources, with some good sciencey stuff, if you're interested: PROLO