Hello runners, walkers, or whomever you may be that are using your knees… Yes, that’s pretty much everyone! Recently (last October) I had to stop running to my great horror. And that lasted for about two and a half month(!!!) until late December. How many of you have had to reduce or stop completely your training because of a nagging knee injury? My assumption is MANY! This whole thing led me to research on the subject in order to prevent its recurrence . But before to “fix it” we need to understand it:
What is a “Knee Injury”?
There are many different kinds of knee injuries, but the most common kind is certainly Chondromalacia, also referred to as “Runner’s Knee”. Basically it is a tear/overuse of the cartilage under your kneecap, resulting in pain, inflammation and irritation. Sounds pretty awful, but the good news is that it can heal – given you do the right thing! Oddly enough, it seems to affect mostly young or healthy individuals, especially runners, cyclists, skiers, or soccer players.
What Causes it?
- Overpronation (when the feet roll inward too much)
- Weak or fatigued quadriceps
- Muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings
- Running on inclined ground
- Overtraining (yes, I know it’s annoying!)
How Do I Treat It?
- REST! (and I mean it) Any other activity hurting your knee (walking, going up the stairs, etc.) will only further the irritation of the cartilage.
- Ice your knee for 15 min. at least twice a day
- Stretch your quads and hamstrings.
- Start a knee strengthening program that will improve the balance of the muscles around your knee.
- Once your knee is better(usually 4-6 weeks), start running (or whatever it is you do) gradually, and make sure you warm-up properly. Don’t go all out within the first week!
- Stretch, strengthen your muscles (quads, hamstrings, hip abductor) and work on balancing exercises.
- Never run on a worn-out shoes (after 350 miles, hit the store)
- Incorporate rest days in your training, and non-impact activities such as pool-running, swimming (which I really need to learn!) or biking on low-resistance high cadence.
- Avoid running on concrete surfaces when you can, and hit the trails, or even synthetic track which is more cushiony.
- Stop if you ever feel pain, and take the next day off!
Are you on a knee-injury break but still want to stay in shape?
Join me in the Core Challenge… You still have a couple days left 🙂
What’s your story on knee injuries?