Runners Knee

I did some research to have a better understanding of my injuries and how to treat them, especially if I want to race in 8 weeks. 

See, glasses mean I’m serious, obviously.

After looking at WebMD and Runner’s World, here’s a breakdown of injury #1 that currently grace my left leg:

Runner’s Knee
“The stress of running can cause irritation where the kneecap (patella) rests on the thighbone. The resulting pain can be sharp and sudden or dull and chronic, and it may disappear while you’re running, only to return again afterward. While biomechanical issues may be to blame, the cause can often be traced back to poorly conditioned quadriceps and tight hamstrings.” – Runner’s World

WebMD says, “Runner’s knee isn’t really a condition itself. It’s a loose term for several specific disorders with different causes. Runner’s knee can result from:

  • Overuse. Repeated bending of the knee can irritate the nerves of the kneecap. Overstretched tendons may also cause the pain of runner’s knee.
  • Direct trauma to the knee, like a fall or blow.
  • Misalignment. If any of the bones are slightly out of their correct position — or misaligned — physical stress won’t be evenly distributed through your body. Certain parts of your body may bear too much weight. This can cause pain and damage to the joints. Sometimes, the kneecap itself is slightly out of position.
  • Problems with the feet. Runner’s knee can result from flat feet, also called fallen arches or overpronation. This is a condition in which the impact of a step causes the arches of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons.
  • Weak thigh muscles.”

I think my problem stems from a little bit of overuse, a little bit of misalignment and weak thigh muscles. I keep my knees bent for hours on end at work, and at home I like to sit cross-legged. I’m working on not crossing my legs at work and finding new positions to sit in at home. I bought new shoes to help support my alignment and I’m trying not to shift my weight very much.

“Treatment of Runner’s Knee includes:

  • Rest the knee. As much as possible, try to avoid putting weight on your knee.
  • Ice your knee to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to give your knee extra support.
  • Elevate your knee on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs can have side effects, like an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them.
  • Get arch supports for your shoes. These orthotics — which can be custom-made or bought off the shelf — may help with flat feet.”

Resting, icing & elevating. Boom!

Last week my Physical Therapist suggested a few stretches and strengthening exercises.

A basic hamstring and calf stretch. Wrap the towel around the arch of your foot, lay down and make your leg perpendicular to the floor. If you’re not flexible like me, this should be a tight stretch. It hurts so good!!

A good leg strengthener is doing simple leg lifts. Lay down 

and SLOWLY lift one leg at a time to about a 45 degree angle and SLOWLY set it back down. I do 2 sets of 20 reps for each leg.

It’s not always easy to find the time and it’s not always comfortable but for me, it’s mandatory to completing my goals so it’s worth it.

I will be exploring more stretches and exercises that will help my progress and I will be to share the good ones I find!

Stay tuned for the low down on IT Band Syndrome!

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