I haven’t been running for the past few weeks because I’ve been having knee pain….it’s called “Runner’s Knee”.
If you log lots of running miles you are very likely to have some aches and pains or an injury along the way.
I know the tendency is to just keep going and run through the pain. You don’t want to stop, especially if you have an event coming up. But if you keep running, your condition can get worse. I can assure you it won’t go away. Since you want to keep running for a life time, you’d better slow down and take care of yourself.
No matter if you are suffering from hamstring pain, Plantar Fasciitis, I-T Band syndrome or runner’s knee the first thing you should do is; STOP RUNNING.
Give it a rest. You don’t need to stop exercising, but you need to let your body recover from the injury.
Anybody can get Runners knee. It doesn’t just happen to people who put in lots of miles. It can happen to beginning runners as well.
I was just getting started running again. I had been only running 3-4 miles at a time and I had advanced to doing a 6 mile run. I first felt the pain after my “Running through Hamburg” video, which was a 10 mile run. I took it easy for a couple of weeks, and then I did “Running through Belize” and my knee really hurt after that 9 mile run. I knew I should stop running, but then I was in Las Vegas and I just had to do “Running through Las Vegas”. I rested and didn’t run for a month so when I was in Miami, I just had to do “Running through Miami”, but the pain came roaring back.
Do what I say…not what I do? I have no ego,….but I just couldn’t pass up running and shooting video in those great locations. But it was a mistake. Knees don’t heal very quickly. When you have an injury, the affected location needs blood flow to heal and there just isn’t much blood flow in your knees, so it can take longer than you’d like for a knee injury to heal.
Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse if you run too much but it’s also caused from weak or tight thigh muscles which cause the patella tendon to get irritated. The patella tendon connects to your quadriceps muscle group, so if you don’t have much flexibility or strength it can create extra stress on your knee.
Let’s take a look the amazing anatomy of our knee joint. Remember, Ligaments connect bone to bone. Tendons connect muscle to bone. As you can see there are many tendons with connections from muscle to bone in the knee area. Notice how some muscles connect to the tibia (lower leg) and others to the femur (thigh bone). Tendons and muscles work together to move bones.
Most of these muscles are very long going from the knee all the way to the hips or groin. It’s really incredible engineering.
Typical symptoms of Runners Knee are:
– Pain behind or around the kneecap
– Pain around the knee when walking, running or going down stairs
– Popping of the knee
– Pain when bending the knee or unable to get the full range of motion when bending your knee
So how do you recover from Runner’s knee?
1.) First….See your doctor. Be sure you don’t have a tear or partial tear.
2.) Check your shoes. If your shoes are worn they could be causing you to pronate or your heal could be rolling which would add stress to your knee. Buy new Shoes.
3.) Use ice knock down the inflammation. You may not have any swelling, but if you have pain you have inflammation. In addition to icing take some ibuprofen or advil which are anti-inflammatory pain killers.
4.) Cross train. You should give running a rest, but it doesn’t mean you have to become a couch potato…again!
a. Work on core exercises and you can do upper body work
b. Get in the pool. I find that the breast stroke kick does wonders. You get a thigh stretch and you get a good hip flexor exercise at the end of the kick.
c. Get on the bike – building up your leg muscles with different exercises will help strengthen supporting muscles in your legs and knee.
d. Work to build strength in your hips and quads with hip flexor exercises, thigh stretches, squats (when you can do them pain free). Building strength throughout your lower body will help ease the pain and improve your running form.
For my recovery, I’ve been going to the gym almost every day.
I’ve been stretching and working to strengthen my leg muscles by getting on the elliptical, riding the bike and swimming.
I was never the guy that did stretches before my runs. I just rolled out of bed and hit the road.
I know stretching can be a controversial topic, but I plan to incorporate dynamic stretches as a warm up before future runs. I hope dynamic stretching can help me avoid injuries in the future.
What is dynamic stretching?
Watch next time….we’ll go through what Dynamic stretching is and demonstrate some of the moves.
Hey….todays shirt is……US Masters Swimming. www.usms.org US Masters Swimming has nearly 60,000 members with 1,500 Masters swimming clubs across the country. Don’t worry about the word “Masters” it doesn’t mean you have to be an expert swimmer or compete in events….it’s just a Swim organizations for Adults. Swimming is great cross training for runners all the time, to help with recovery and avoid injuries. Check the website for local programs and a pool near you!
So don’t do as I did….take care to keep strong and flexible to avoid injuries. If you are injured…stop running, let yourself heal and in the meantime cross train to keep fit and strengthen other muscles which can help prevent future injury.
I’ll recover soon and get back to running. I know that if I train properly, I’ll be back to longer distance runs soon.
I’m having an UltraLife…..and I hope you have an Ultralife too!
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