22nd MDG member injures knee, not pride

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Abigail Klein
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
While most people would be grateful for some downtime, slowing down is a foreign concept, and a burden, for a seasoned marathon runner

When Capt. Jill Roser, 22nd Medical Group Public Health Flight commander and an avid runner, injured her knee in July 2010, the thought of not being able to run the long distances hurt more than the actual injury.

"Before the injury, I was doing ten-mile runs and had even participated in a half marathon in May," she said. "After the injury, I was physically unable to run from July until October 2010."

The injury was a result of Iliotibial Band syndrome, a common cause of knee pain in runners. It was even more frustrating for Captain Roser because she was unsure of how it had happened.

"In the Air Force we do a lot of running and running is a high impact exercise," said Maj. Ty Hunt, 22nd Medical Operations Squadron Physical Therapy Flight commander. "Running is an aerobic exercise that does not build those leg muscles and the pounding [on knees] adds up."

"I had been increasing my distances, doing 10-mile runs with no strength training," Captain Roser said. "I think I just came down wrong on my knee."

After receiving her diagnoses, Captain Roser was more than disappointed to find that  she couldn't run.

"It was very frustrating for me to not run," Captain Roser said. "It really hurt my morale to not be able to go outdoors and run, which I love, and to go from running ten miles comfortably, to not even being able to run one mile."

Instead of giving up physical activity all together, Captain Roser maintained her fitness by performing exercises that would encourage her healing. This included using the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, three days a week and taking 18-mile bike rides on the weekends.

The biggest adjustment to her new routine was the addition of strength training, which consisted of leg curls and presses. Strength training is commonly recommended to runners who suffer injuries, said Major Hunt.

"If you don't do some kind of weight training and your running three to four times a week, you will eventually get knee pain because building those muscles is the only way to lessen the impact," said Major Hunt.

These changes enabled Captain Roser to begin running long distances again in mid-October.

Because of this dedication, Captain Roser was able to complete her scheduled physical fitness test in November 2010. Instead of doing worse on her run, Captain Roser was able to complete here run in 11 minutes and 29 seconds, ultimately scoring a 99.

"I felt confident going into the test because by then I felt no pain and I began running and was able to run about three miles," Captain Roser said.

Captain Roser credits her success to her physical therapy and strength training, as well as her ability to turn her injury into an opportunity to learn how to run better.

"I was still able to accomplish [my score] because I altered what I already did for fitness," she said. "Instead of running outdoors, which I love to do, I spent half an hour a day on the elliptical machine."

Captain Roser continues her strength training, an important measure to prevent aggravating her knee in the future, said Major Hunt. She continues to run regularly and is currently training for a half marathon in May 2011.