running in lisbon
All good things must come to an end, or so the saying goes. In this case, my running adventures came to an unfortunate end. After running 163 miles in 11 cities on two continents, on routes filled with wicked downhills, flat paved pedestrian lanes, uneven park trails and city streets, firm, smooth sand, river banks and seasides, and in a city park with one of the best running setups to date, I injured my knee.
I called it a day, for now, on running.
My right knee was more angry than usual when I set off for a 3-miler to surpass my weekly running goal. The nagging pain wasn’t dissipating like normal, and I was running slower than normal.
I was relieved when I reached the park and found well-kept paved and DG trails heading off in several directions through Jardim da Estrela.
I finished one lap around the park, and as I started a gentle uphill, I felt something in my knee pop. I stopped in my tracks and grabbed my knee, thinking I could massage it out. After a minute of gentle massage, I gingerly set off and realized the pop was more severe than I initially thought. I did more massage and tried again, but still no luck. After a few more minutes of massage and stretching, I gave it another go. Unfortunately, the piercing pain prevented me from doing anything more than walking with a slight limp. I was about half a mile from Jackie, who was waiting at a cafe to begin our walking food tour. I didn’t want to miss it because Portuguese food is amazing, so I downplayed my injury.
I struggled through the food tour and noticed my knee was swollen when we arrived home. Jackie and I went into scenario planning and decided I should seek treatment in Lisbon to determine the extent of my injury.
I worked with a medical treatment coordination company to arrange an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at a local hospital. The fee for the appointment, including the coordination fee, was €150.
I arrived at the hospital, checked in at the front desk, and went to the first floor to provide more details and receive my appointment number. Once I completed the rest of the check-in process (which took less than ten minutes), I headed to floor 1 to wait for my number to flash up on a DMV-type screen for my appointment.
The exam room waiting area was bristling with activity.
Patients waiting their turns, doctors moving between exam rooms, nurses visiting with patients, and staff shepherding people into the correct places. The constant ding of new numbers popping up on the DMV-like monitors throughout the waiting area filled the space with a sense of nervous anticipation. A bitterly unhappy baby cried out, which got the two other babies crying in a strange symphony of high-pitched wailing. It turns out they were twins, and their moms were struggling to remain unruffled while trying to calm them.
My X-ray was inconclusive, and the doctor wanted me to get an MRI later in the week. I would’ve continued treatment in Portugal, but our time in the EU without a visa was nearing the 90-day limit, and I didn’t have time to wait until the MRI, so we decided to return to the US for additional treatment.
I did see an osteopath before we departed, who did some specific manipulation of my leg, knee, and ankle, which reduced the pain. After completing her full-body evaluation, she let me know I needed to stretch my hamstrings regularly, wasn’t eating enough fiber, wasn’t drinking enough water, and was eating too many inflammatory foods.
The Strava maps of my runs in Lisbon are included here. Running in the Queijas area was fantastic. The beach, a nature trail, and a sports-centric park were less than two miles from our flat, which made it easy to get outside and log more miles.