Thursday, March 18, 2010

Runners' Knees

We've all heard of tennis elbow.  And, certainly, as a competitive swimmer, I looked down on people whose shoulders didn't make atrocious popping noises, because, obviously, they didn't work hard enough.  (Ok, I was a twisted kid).  I am coming to realize, however, that bad knees are rampant in the world of running.  Since I haven't been able to run in about 2 weeks, I figured I'd use the extra time and let you know what I've learned.

For instance, a good start is this article at Runner's World: PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME ("RUNNER'S KNEE")  It tells you that you shouldn't increase your running by more than 10% per week to prevent overuse injuries.  Your body just isn't used to the demands you're putting on it.  (Hello?  Katy?  Suddenly going to running daily might've been a BAD idea.)

I LOVE the Calorie Count community.  They are very supportive women, with great suggestions!  Unfortunately, they recommend staying off of the knee, icing, stretching, and rest.  All very logical advice that I ignore.    

Time to Run offers a more detailed analysis.  Most useful, are the exercises they suggest:

Exercises include:
1) Place pillow under knee, tighten quadriceps, push knee down into pillow and lift foot up. 20 times
2) Repeat exercise as above with foot turned out in order to strengthen the inside of the quadriceps muscle. Repeat 20.
3) Squats. Perform with back against wall. Bend knees slowly to between 45 - 60. Ensure that knee travels over line between big and second toes. Hold for a count of 5 seconds. Relax slowly. 20 times
4) Step-downs. Stand on step or box. Tighten quadriceps and lower opposite leg slowly to the ground.Ensure that knee travels over line and between big and second toes.Then raise the leg up onto the step,relax. Repeat 20.  Increase the number of repetitions in increments of 5 every two days, all the way up to 60 reps.
Stretching - of the quadriceps, hamstring, iliotibial band (ITB) and gluteal muscles
Return to running gradually
Full recovery is usually between four to six weeks 

Make sure to check out all their great tips for working through the injury, though.  INVALUABLE.

Obviously, I think Cool Running has a lot of wonderful information to offer.  Their tips that I still need to look into are to take ibuprofen to reduce the swelling, and potentially get new shoes that better support HOW I run.  Admittedly, my shoes are getting a little worn and may not be doing their job. 

Hopefully, I can let all of this sink in, follow the advice, and be back on the road soon!  Otherwise, Kelle is going to have to kill me because I won't be properly trained for the 10 mile race in May.  I'm trying, I promise!


  1. I like to think of runner's injuries as God's way of telling me to choose another way to exercise.

    But that could possibly be because I hate running. ;)

  2. I feel your pain!! I've got a "foot" thing going on, so running is out for me- sigh.