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Runners knee, anyone?

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Runners knee, anyone? Empty Runners knee, anyone?

Post  KathyK on Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:21 am

I've taken the past couple of weeks off from running and even ellipticalling because of a nasty case (self-diagnosed) of runners knee (Yeah, I know it has a formal name...I just can't think of it right now, and am too lazy to look it up). It got to the point that going up and down stairs was extremely painful (to the point that I considered taking the elevator to go up even 1 or 2 flights of stairs), and even a brisk walk was more than my knee could stand.

I did a bit of research and visited the runners knee web-site section of our UNC Hospital sports medicine clinic to find exercises to rehab and strengthen, and have worked them into my morning strength/toning routine. My knee feels MUCH better, but is still not 100% pain free.

I'm hoping to go for a very short run this evening after work, but have a few questions for anyone who has dealt with this before.

Did you wait until you were 100% pain free before you started running again?
How long did you take off from running?
What did you do to rehab/strengthen?
Did you wear a knee brace when you began running again?
Did you change anything else when you started running again? Different shoes, etc?
Has your runners knee returned?
Any other tips/advice to share?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences with me!
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Post  Jason K. on Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:29 am

Kath-

Last year I thought I had runners knee as well and like you it was self-diagnosed. At least in my case it turned out to be a tight quad pulling on the tendons or ligaments above and over the top of my knee. Along with strength training, the foam roller was the ticket to full recovery. If you have access to a good massage therapist, he or she could also really help to get you back on the road quickly.

I think I remember that you're south of the Triangle, but if you can make it to Durham, John Stiner (http://www.stinermassage.com) would be an amazing resource for you. He works almost exclusively with endurance athletes and is an amazing practitioner.

Regardless, hang in there, hit the foam roller and it will get better.
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Post  KathyK on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:00 am

Thanks for sharing your insight, Jason! Yes, I'm near Durham, I may look up John Stiner. But in the meantime, I'll begin using my foam roller more religiously. Thanks!
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:19 am

Mine was self-diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was. I believe my hamstring (tight) had something to do with it.

Did you wait until you were 100% pain free before you started running again?
At first, no. Then I realized I absolutely had to. Took a month completely off, then I rode a bike pathetically slow for 3-4 weeks before trying to run again.

How long did you take off from running?
See above.

What did you do to rehab/strengthen?
See above.

Did you wear a knee brace when you began running again?
No

Did you change anything else when you started running again? Different shoes, etc?
Got rid of the old shoes.

Has your runners knee returned?
No.

Any other tips/advice to share?
Patience! It sucks. A lot. But I found that super low-strain cycling (no hills!) really helped stretch and strengthen things. I'm talking 13mph or less on flat ground (I used to ride 18-21mph on rolling hills), build from 30min to 75-90min.
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Post  KathyK on Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:26 pm

Thanks Mike.
Who knows, if tonight's test run doesn't go well, then I may have to become BFFs with my bike (not the Harley, but the one without an engine.) I may have to buy a (cheap) indoor bike trainer...highways and hills around my house will make regular bicycling difficult.
I think that I've seen runners knee linked to tight hammies, so I've been making sure that I give mine a good stretch every day.

I wonder though, would bicycling be similar to ellipticalling?
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:36 pm

I elliptical'd occasionally when I was trying to rehab my knee. It wouldn't cause the knee to flare up, but it wasn't as comfortable as cycling. I also hate elliptical machines, hence my leaning towards cycling Smile
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Post  sobele on Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:33 am

I've developed runners knee as well over the last few months. I had it diagnosed by a Sports Orthopedist about 6 weeks ago. He said it was due to my hamstrings being extremely tight and my quads being weak. He gave me a stretching routine to complete twice a day (which I have done religiously), however at the time he told me that I could still run as long as my form wasn't being affected by the pain I was experiencing. Looking back, I'm not sure if that was the smartest advice. I did keep running through the pain as I was in the last leg of my training for a half. Ran the half on 3/18 and since then I haven't run at all.

My biggest challenge is that I work in Manhattan so I do a lot of walking and it's very difficult for me to truly rest my legs. It's coming on 2 weeks this Sunday that I've been off it and I'm still experiencing pain (especially when I'm just sitting on the couch or lying down to sleep). Based on what I'm reading though it seems as though I probably need to now take a full 4 weeks off before doing anything.

I ice my knees twice a day and stretch. In addition, I've also recently gone to a podiatrist as I read that over-pronaters are more apt to get runners knee. I've learned that I have flat feet which could be a cause as well so I'm getting orthotics made(should be in the next week or 2).

I plan on using Mike's road to recovery as the foundation for mine. I'm going to continue to stretch and ice and after about a month will slowly start riding my bike and see how that feels.

Kathy, I feel your pain (literally). As I feel the weather getting nicer all I want to do is RUN! However, I also know that if I look at the big picture it makes sense to take the time off now, fully recover and take proper care of my body (stretching) moving forward.



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Post  KathyK on Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:38 am

Thank sobele, for sharing your experience! Taking a month off sounds like a reasonable plan. I just reviewed my log and found that it's been a full month since I last ran. I did a very slow, short (2 miles) run on Tuesday, and it went pretty well. I'm now able to go up and down stairs pain-free, and I do feel like I'm on the road to recovery. I switched shoes and I'll start building mileage very slowly.

Did your doc give you any exercises to strengthen your quads in addition to the stretching stuff?
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Post  wrichman on Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:32 am

I've never had runner's knee, but I've had my share of other injuries. Almost all lower limb injuries are the results of weak hips and imbalances. In moving forward and rehabbing, you need to strengthen you hips! ALL runners should be doing hips strengthening exercises at least 2x a week. They can be quick - just 10 min. in front of the tv. I'm not trying to lecture anyone, just share what I've learned from my past injuries so others can prevent some.
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Post  KathyK on Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:43 am

@wrichman wrote:I've never had runner's knee, but I've had my share of other injuries. Almost all lower limb injuries are the results of weak hips and imbalances. In moving forward and rehabbing, you need to strengthen you hips! ALL runners should be doing hips strengthening exercises at least 2x a week. They can be quick - just 10 min. in front of the tv. I'm not trying to lecture anyone, just share what I've learned from my past injuries so others can prevent some.

Do you have any favorite hip strengthening exercises? I've been doing some that were perscribed by a PT serveral years ago because of a calf injury. Just wondering if there is something else I should include?

thanks!
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Post  wrichman on Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:15 am

Some of these you need a theraband for. I can't find a video for my favorite one, so I'll try and describe it: Lay on your side w/ shoulders, back, legs, feet, head all against flat wall. Put a small towel under your top foot (Between the wall and you foot). Push the towel up so you are doing a side leg lift against the wall the whole time. Don't let the towel fall! Do 3 sets of 15 on each side (leg) and on the 15th one of each set hold the towel at the top for 10 seconds.

The clams and side walking w/ band are also great. I threw in some others that I've done as well. I just do this stuff 2x a week for 10 min. in front of the tv - really helps!!

http://www.livestrong.com/video/5547-side-lying-clams/

http://www.livestrong.com/video/5499-side-plank-leg-lifts/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R8WUMxmPRE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X757Cdp-4uo&feature=relmfu

http://www.healthyexerciseworld.com/hip-strengthening-exercises.html

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/strengthtraining/qt/Side_Plank.htm

http://www.innerathletetraining.com/articles/marathon.pdf

http://ontheballfitness.biz/uploads/File/hip%20strength%20for%20runners.pdf
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Post  wendy_miller on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:46 am

Kathy--I have run through this injury before, but I know some people have been unable to do so. I found that the first two miles I'd be in a ton of pain, and then it would go away. the Mueller knee strap was a life saver for me. It puts pressure right on the tendon. If you do take extended time off, make sure to massage the heck out of that tendon with lotion/butter knife (or just your fingers if you're leery of the knife)
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