Ex-runner with chronic knee pain?
I know this topic doesnt have much to do with HE, but recently I’ve encountered many who are dealing with this issue and thought it was worth mentioning. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about an inability to use ones legs, I’m solely referring to the pain that creeps up in your knees about a minute into the run. I’ve tried just about every method of treatment, from regular physical therapy, to acupuncture. I have not had surgery mainly because Ive been advised against this by my physicians. I have yet to find who a practitioner who has the slightest idea as to what might be wrong with my knees. Anyone else out dealing with knee pain? If so, how are you coping with it’?
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@infiniteself, I know a really good female friend of mine who was dealing with this in high school. Every so often it would get really bad and she would have to wear a knee brace for a few weeks to help it calm back down.
Do you run on pavement? If so, freaking stop right now. Crap is terrible for your joints.
Also, when you run what part of your foot hits the ground first?
@dalniente, Its possible. I’m starting to believe I may have some serious cartilage damage.
Upon initial assessment, they deduced that the pain was a result of patella femoral syndrome.Though in a matter of weeks, i began to feel pain surrounding my entire knee cap and into my quad, so my orthos ruled ruled out PFS. Ive tried pt, orthotics, rest, regular stretching, massage and acupuncture. I feel that going under the knife may be my only option.
@lytning91, This all began 4 years ago when I was a runner on my colleges’ cross-country team. Every other day we would run on pavement (my school was in the city). Our only other option was the soccer field. Its possible that the pavement may have something to do with it. During my more recent running attempts, I’ve run on pavement mainly due to the fact that I still reside in the city. I know there are running trails surrounding the city. I guess I just need to make to the effort to get out there if I’m still serious about running. Fyi, treadmills are the enemy
I promise your Knee is fine, it’s your alignment that is off . Look into Egoscue, and obviously yoga. Also take a look at your actual running motion, do you running heel toe? Is more weight on your balls than your heels? Is more weight on one side than the other? Do you keep your spine straight, lower back in, shoulders back, chin tucked?
I would attribute the pain to one thing and that is overuse. Most chronic injuries are the result of “overuse” and running cross country for years will often cause chronic pain. But the biggest difference between people who get chronic injuries while running and people who don’t are the shoe they are wearing and the way that shoe affects their gait. When wearing a shoe with a lot of heel cushioning we are forced into believing that we should heel strike and allow the impact to be “absorbed by the shoe’s cushioning”. That’s absolute BS. Your ankles, knees, hips, and spine take on that shock and in the long run causes chronic injuries. The solution? Minimalist or barefoot running. Look it up on your own and see for yourself all of the studies that have been done that show how much better it is for you. I’ve heard many many stories of people recovering from chronic injuries and getting back to an active life of running all because of minimalist or barefoot running.
@infiniteself, I just know that people who run too frequently on pavement are going to see an increased amount of pain due to the terrain versus someone who rain that same frequency on dirt, since each strike of the foot is cushioned a little more by the earth.
Also you didn’t mention your running technique. I was curious as to which part of your foot hits the ground first when you run?
@stevedylan1024, ummm…wait are you saying that’s probably how SHE’S running? Because heel first is what jacks your knee up. You gotta run toe-to-heel to reduce to pressure to your joints.
All world-class runners run toe-to-heel and physical therapists who treat runners for sore joints and stress fractures have to reteach them the correct method (or teach them for the first time) of toe-to-heel.
Heel to toe is the proper striking movement, the only way it will fuck up your knee is if your not aligned properly as I said above. Check your knees for pronation, either internal or external. If the load joints in your body are in proper alignment your going to have pain
The human body isn’t so weak and fragile that you have to pander to it and try to reduce pressure to your joints. Your joints evolved over thousands upon thousands of years to be the optimal mechanism. It’s not that our joints are weak, it’s that modern lifestyle causes us to make various compensations for weak muscles and we lose our vertical and horizontal symmetry which places disproportional forces on various joints and muscles.
@stevedylan1024, I have done a fair amount of looking around and it seems that the research is sort of scarce, but there is definitely nothing I’ve seen which advocates the claim that alignment is all that matters. According to what little I did find, toe-heel is on the rise and trainers are advocating it as a more efficient and less injury-prone method for advancing runners.
Definitely nothing in stone, but that goes for either side. Definitely heel-toe is not considered the correct technique by any materials or professional opinions I have heard voiced, though. Just a few weeks ago a marathon runner friend of mine was told by her physical therapist to begin running toe-heel to prevent injury in the future and was being trained on the proper technique.
Also, according to WebMD, the most common cause of knee pain is from the dislodging of the cartilage from its appropriate location or its thinning, which partially aligns with your statement.
That said a 2004 study determined “In recreational runners, there is no evidence that static biomechanical alignment measurements of the lower limbs are related to lower limb injury except patellofemoral pain syndrome. However, the effect of static lower limb alignment may be injury specific.”
Lower limb alignment is important when running. If you have weak hip abductors and external rotators (primarily the gluteals or buttocks) then that can cause problems at the knee since these muscles control what happens at the knee. Ankle mobility also can play a factor because lack of it can play a role in knee pain. You may need to do massage or foam rolling and stretching of your hip, thigh, and lower leg muscles as well as strengthen your gluteal (buttock) muscles on a regular basis because it does take time to reduce pain. Even if you do have cartilage damage, these things can help, as well as checking for running form and the type of shoe that you use. For more information on some exercise basics, check out http://wp.me/p2fgAR-jV.
Hope this helps!
Pamela Brown, MA, PRCS, CSCS
Well it may still be up in the air, i was just sharing what has worked for me and what seems to make sense considering the human race used to run, jump, climb, and hunt almost every day of our lives and our bodies evolved for that purpose. I’ve never seen much on toe heel but i will look into it
@plbrown, Yeah that is what I was getting at, the problem usually is with the alignment of the hip and ankle joints. All a knee needs to function is proper positioning of those two joints as it mainly just coordinates the function of the powerful powerful hip muscles and the comparatively weak ankle
@plbrown, strange that I found such contradictory evidence to yours via the aforementioned study.
@stevedylan1024, and yeah, if you’ll note it said recreational runners, which definitely doesn’t encompass everyone’s technique and experience. Also another point to note is the difference between then and now in terms of shoes and terrain. Back then barefooted was the only real option and there was no concrete or asphalt but rather dirt and grass (mainly, though obviously in mountainous terrain it’s comparable to the other man-made stuff)
@lytning91, Yeah agreed and I forgot to touch on the shoe portion. Shoes definitely play a huge role in chronic pain and I’ve discovered that barefoot really is the best way to go, it keeps your arches strong and really gives you a lot more control
@lytning91, Very true, but there is growing research that indicates that hip abductor and external rotator weakness plays a role. And yes it does depend on the knee pathology. However, my answer is backed on research, and has worked very well with my clients. My answer is a general answer, not meant to be definite in any way, but these muscles play a role in knee pain and nothing definite can be said about the knee pain by anyone until a definite diagnosis is made by a doctor and a movement assessment of some sort is done by a fitness professional or therapist. Thanks for your comments though.
@infiniteself, hey :) yeah i got ‘diagnosed’ with Patella Femoral Pain also, and like you said its kinda their go-to on knee pain. I think the best you can do is check your alignment not just when you run but as you go about your day too. do some strength training to build your muscles to support your joints, and make sure you have correct form in them also. stretch your hip flexors too! people think that all they need to stretch are the obvious stuff like quads, calves, and the foward-bend thingymajig.
So yeah. compliment your runs with strength training. dont neglect stretching the not so obvious. and likewise dont neglect training the not so obvious. check your posture and form in all your day to day activities. and hopefully it should clear up a bit! failing that, just give running a rest for awhile. maybe try some biking. or if you’re at a gym, use the cross trainer? its less jolting on the knees. i love to swim too! anyway, switch it up so that your body stays conditioned all over.
and as a side note on the running form debate, im definately part of the ‘do what feels best for you’ team. there’s no strong evidence to suggest that either heel-toe or toe-heel is better form. your body knows what will work best for you, and your energy is better spent correcting your posture when you run rather than trying to force yourself to run in a style that is not natural for yourself. Its not that big a deal guys.
@infiniteself, Being a skater I’ve thrown myself over some pretty big things that haven’t been not so nice to my knees. I use to have knees that were like rusty hinges. They cracked and you could hear them when I moved. What helped me was building the muscle around them with heavy squats and flaxseed oil. At one point my problem was gone all together than I got lazy and stopped taking flax and now they’re a little rusty again.