Damaged knee

This is a bit long-winded but I feel it's important to have the background.

I have a "dodgy" knee that occasionally swivels in its socket, popping out of position, although apparently not fully dislocating.  It never swells up when this happens, but putting weight on it while bent causes pain for between a few hours and a few months afterwards, depending on how much it moved out of place and for how long (usually less than a second).  I have to be careful just in general - if I wear a dress which needs zipping up at the side I have to remember to take that heel off the ground before using the zip in case the twisting movement aggravates it!

My knee has been this way since I was 15 (I'm now 44) when, while running through a farm with heaps of earth for planting yams, I landed on a yam-heap badly, slid off and ended up with my right foot pointing backwards rather than forwards, causing a huge amount of pain in the knee in the process.  It didn't swell up that first time either but I had to be virtually carried for the rest of the (very short) journey and I couldn't put any weight on that leg for several hours.

I ran everywhere when I was younger - in my first job people used to remark that I never seemed to walk anywhere - and despite the dodgy knee didn't have any problems.  As I got older and my lifestyle got more sedentary, I slowed down and stopped running more or less altogether.  I had already stopped running as a sport after moving from Nigeria, where I ran barefoot, to the UK, where I found it impracticable.  I tried running in trainers but this caused serious pain to my knee - especially if I went off road - causing me to stop again.

Last year I discovered "barefoot" shoes, bought a pair and took to running again.  I soon realized that my knee not only doesn't hurt during a run or after I have been running, but actually STOPS hurting during the run if it was hurting before I started!

Does anyone have any ideas why this might be the case?

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