My knees makes me feel like i'm just not meant to run :-(

I'm so sad right now I really could just cry.

I've just come in from a 3 mile run, one I completed quite happily last month before all the snow happened. I had to walk most of it after getting 'the pain' as I call it after about 2 miles. It made the last mile impossible to run due to the pain.

The History: In 2009 I decided to teach myself how to run in an attempt to lose some weight for my wedding. I entered a race for life and went from being able to only run lampost to lampost up to about the mile stage non stop. I didn't train enough though and my race for life wasn't a quick one, loads of speed walking breaks but I was ok with that.

I then just stopped running, got married, got lazy, weight crept back on and then noticed that sometimes whilst walking that my knee would suddenly screach in pain. It felt like the outer cap on the side was the problem. This happened a few times, again whilst walking, on one occasion I climbed Snowdon with hubby which was hard work going up!! Going downhill was even worse though!!!! Going down the steps at the top of the hill, again, my knee just 'went' and I had to walk sideways most of the way down, it was a long trip down but fortunately there was snow at the top and it came in very handy! I noticed the pain a few more times, especially going down stairs.

Fast forward to today, I started running on the treadmill last year, worked back up from nothing to running 30minutes non stop. I then started following a 10k training programme and completed it, slowly but pain free. Ive entered the bupa 10k and messed around with my training over Xmas  but I really wanted to start again. I went on the treadmill, did a few 2-3 miles and then one day just went outside, I LOVED it! I ran about 3.6 miles non stop, up 2 massive hills and I just felt amazing when I got home. My next run however was back on the treadmil and I tried some interval training, I had a lot of pain the next day, I couldn't barely walk up and down stairs, it was awful! It took days to recover and my next run on the treadmill led to pain after about the 5 mile mark and I was desperate to do the 10k so walked the last mile. I then ran a 3 mile and again, at the 2 mile the pain started and I walked the last mile.

I have been to see someone about my knees, they didn't really find anything wrong but suggested I should go to the sports guy but i didn't go back as I really can't afford it. They did say that I could do with some knee support as I have a lot of space around the joints, I cant remember the actual diagnosis.

What do I do next? I wanted to give up half an hour ago and just take up something else but I love running and i've got this 10k coming up...

Do I go the doctors? Dp I rest for a bit and start from scratch on the treadmill?

God, sorry for the essay, I'm just down in the dumps. I do stretch after my run and I always walk first to warm up. The pain is bit like a stabbing which is gradually getting worse to the point that I have to stop, it goes immediately and I can walk fine.

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Comments

  • My experience of injuries are that during the 'repair' stage, you start an exercise and then at some stage during the exercise the area of damage starts to complain and continues to do so until the moment you stop. At which stage it can just disappear.

    Next time out the 'pain' stage may come on later and less so.

    Eventually you find you've finished your run before it happens.

    However, if you go far enough it will 'wake up' again.

    I've areas that don't exist until I've been running for over two hours. So I don't,

    Its an injury. But its getting better. It just grizzles about doing so.

  • If this injury has been going on for more than a couple of months then go and see your GP.  

  • I've had similar sounding issues with one of my knees. A good physio that specialises in treating runners can really really really help. I only had to pay for two sessions when I saw mine as he was more interested in helping me help myself. Not sure where you are based, but ask around for some recommendations and get some proper advice from someone who knows what they're talking about.

    I now have two or three short exercises I do each day, and my knee pain is much much better after years of trying to sort it out.

    Your GP may even be able to refer you to a physio on the NHS.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I find running on the dreadmill exacerbates any niggles I have far more than running outside, but that might just be me!

  • Don't despair, there's hardly a runner on here who hasn't had knee problems of some sort. When I started running I immediately exacerbated a nasty knee injury I picked up on a cycling holiday 20 years earlier. I did what I should have done then and went to my GP, was immediately referred for physio. NHS physio is much maligned here but I've had nothing but good experiences, the referral took about 3 weeks to come through and over the next few weeks she sorted me out by going back to basics and starting again VERY slowly with a walk run programme with some leg strengthening exercises thrown. It took 6 months to build up to 30 minutes running but I can honestly say I've never had a problem with my knees since and that was 8 years ago. On a subsequent referrel for shin splints my physio referred me to a podiatrist and I now have 'free' custom made orthotics.



    So don't hesitate to go to your doctor and ask for a referrel for physio, and don't be afraid to ask for a physio with some knowledge and experience of sports injuries. In my case both physios were runners themselves and they were great. We can't all afford to pay for private treatment and in any case I've been paying 20 years worth of taxes towards the NHS so I don't consider it free but it is bloody good value for money.
  • Thank you all so much, I'm definitely going to book an appoint on Monday! X
  • Would agree with the comments above but while you are resting/physio' ing your knees have a read of 'Born to Run' and/or 'The Art of Running Faster'. They are great motivational books and explain how to run and that the body is designed to run, we just do not use it properly. Don't give up! Some people say running is bad for you so you should give up and take up cycling instead, but I get knee pain whilst cycling but not running. Injuries are soul destroying you just feel all that hard won fitness draining away; hopefully you can get through this and on to the next challenge image

  • Thanks sideburns, woke to minimal muscle ache but pain on the outer knee cap on my right knee this morning, particularly going downstairs. I've been seeing my doctor about headaches and he was brilliant, that was only 2 weeks ago and I'm still getting them but not as bad, bet hell be suck if seeing me when I go about my knees! Actually feeling quite positive about going to see him, I should of sorted this ages ago.
  • Your doctor will be only too pleased that you are taking steps to get fitter and healthier and should support you all the way.



    +1 for The Art of Running Faster by Julian Goater really excellent stuff on running form and posture which prob account for vast majority of running niggles and injuries, it's also written in a very easy and accessible style, I got it for Xmas and would recommend it as a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in running at any level.



    Good luck and as others have said don't give up!
  • LUCY Mason 3 wrote (see)
    Thanks sideburns, woke to minimal muscle ache but pain on the outer knee cap on my right knee this morning, particularly going downstairs. I've been seeing my doctor about headaches and he was brilliant, that was only 2 weeks ago and I'm still getting them but not as bad, bet hell be suck if seeing me when I go about my knees! Actually feeling quite positive about going to see him, I should of sorted this ages ago.

    In my experience Dr's get fed up with people coming to see them for help and advice and then not taking that help and advice. Alternatively come with a pre-conceived plan for treatment (researched on Wikipaedia). I am not prepared to vouch for all Dr's but they are normally good and patient. As above you are going to see him/her to help yourself get fitter and healthier. Listening to people complaining about their breathing when you know they smoke 40 per day; that sucks!

  • Yes I totally agree, I've found the books on amazon so I've ordered them, I used to love reading and now that I've given up alcohol I need something to keep me occupied!
  • Sorry, one more question, the pain I'm getting sometimes starts after 3 or more miles, if I warmed up real good and ran do you think that's ok until the pain Nd stop or would I be better off just doing some exercise DVDs and leave running until I'm seeing someone?
  • Dunno! I would probably be heading down the swimming pool... I hate swimming; but as an excercise that will help me to run better it is just about bearable!

  • Hmmm, I'm not a pool kinda gal plus having a little one to look after means I'm house bound. Spinning bike, treadmill and exercise DVDs only.
  • Bump!



    Any other thoughts on still running whilst I'm waiting for an appoint and then further waiting depending on what the doc says?
  • do you heel strike?

    i started running about 5 months ago, but had damaged my knees through playing squash in my early 20's. when i started to run, i was heel striking. this sent shocks through my knees and hips. i changed to forefoot running (i now only run in vibram 5 fingers), using a very vertical stance and have not had any problems with the knees since.

    when i first started, i was using regular running trainers which 'allowed' me to heel strike. these would still give me knee woes. changing from heel to fore / mid foot was the magic bullet as far as my knees were concerned. the calves weren't too happy for a few months thoughimage

  • We had a sports physio give a talk at our running club and he said it's not always best to rest. He said a lot of people self diagnose then rest when sometimes keeping moving albeit at a slower pace can help. ( I am not suggesting this is the case for you)

    The key is to get a diagnosis and the GP is not always the best person as it takes time to get referred. I am lucky that I have a local sports physio who is quite good.

    Good luck.

  • Common problem - runners knee - patello femoral syndrome

    The outer sides of your quad muscles are much stronger than the muscles on the inner side so pulling your kneecap over slightly when u run

     

    I cured mine with hard cycling twice a week to build up quad strength.

  • I struggle with my knees on the outer side of the knee cap - my physio (and very good friend) told me to use a rolling pin on the muscular areas for 30 seconds each on the back and front of the thigh and calf - this releases the muscle tightness and relaxes the strain on your knee cap - works for me, might be worth a try.  I warn you though, it can be quite painful, but is beneficial afterwards.

    Best of luck.

  • What does your knee feel like when you are resting? Is it at all numb?

  • Hi folks thanks for the replies, I've booked the docs but its nit until fri so I've decided to continue but on the treadmill, that way I can just stop the moment it hurts and not have the anguish of the walk home.



    To the poster about heel strike, I'm so sorry I don't even know what that means, I personally think I'm terribly flat footed as when I run on sat with no music I couldn't believe how noisy I was which led me to think more about my feet but I don't know how to change how I run?



    When I am resting its not numb, no feeling really except for going up and downstairs can cause discomfort.



    Thanks again!
  • The books I recommended explain the heal strike/running on the balls of your feet difference. The 'Art of Running Faster' book is the best for explaining how to run. The 'Born to Run' book starts with the author fed up because he has injured himself, again, and wants to find out why; his solution is not to heal strike. By using shoes with less padding and landing on the balls (sort of tip toe) of your feet you use the natural shock absorbing properties of your feet. It takes a little while to master and, as above, kills your calves. The fact that you are a 'noisy' runner suggests that you are are being hard on your body, possibly bobbing up and down, this also wastes energy. I recommended those books for a reason!  You will get there!

  • Have you got decent running trainers? My knee problem turned out to be as simple as not wearing proper trainers that gave me support. I went to a specialist running shop, took the trainers I was wearing they told me they were rubbish, put me on a treadmill, looked how I ran and recommend a support trainer which has made a tremendous difference.
  • Sideburn's book suggestions are an excellent starting point.

    One of the key things I used when trying to improve my form is to listen to how you run - if you are making a lot of noise (e.g. foot slapping on the floor) then you are not running efficiently.  I tried to consciously run quieter, trying to land gently rather than hitting the ground and this helped improve my pace and I'm also rarely (touch wood!) injured through running.

    The other thing with pain coming on after a few miles, one of the causes of this can be weak core muscles. As you get tired your core muscles weaken, and your running form suffers.  Have a google of "core strength exercises" to get some idea of the type of things that can help improve this.

    Another good book on running form is "Chi Running" and one of the key lessons in that book is to think about a solid core with flexible limbs - keeping your torso straight & under control whilst letting your legs relax and swing through the running motion. (I probably haven't explained that as eloquently as the book's author!)

     

  • I ordered the books yesterday, they should be here soon. Who knew that running had so much technical bits and pieces to consider!
  • hi lucy,

    heel striking is when the heel of your foot hits the floor first. you'll pretty much see it in the vast majority of photos in running mags etc. when your foot hits the floor with the heel first, it does at least 2 things.

    1 - slows forward motion as it acts as a brake

    2 - sends shock waves up the leg and through the knee and hip

    i was a heel striker until i tried running in the vibram's. heel striking in five fingers isn't comfortable, so you automatically adapt. thick cushioned soles however on 'regular' running shoes mask the effects of heel striking, with the result being you actually pound the ground harder than in minimalist shoes - there's a great iapp called myStride (69p) that measures the g force of the leg during running / jumping etc.

    you don't need to go to the expense of vibrams etc as a simple pair of gym plimsols do the same job for a few quid. it is vitally important to make sure your feet are hitting the ground below your hips. over striding leads to injury (got that t-shirt). cadence should be about 180 steps per minute and distances are very short to begin with (¼ mile tops). your calves will hate you as they may well be doing something they've never done before, but if your knees are anything like mine, they'll love you!

  • Dave - I've been reading a little (I stress a little) about 'barefoot' running and one of the things I don't understand is this 'feet hit the ground below your hips' bit. I'm probably being dense here, but surely if your feet are not reaching out in front of you, you're not going to move forwards. Unless you sort of propel your pelvis forwards over your feet?
  • Lucy - as someone else asked, have you been fitted / had your gait analysed for the shoes you run in? When I started running I would get to about 2 miles and my knee would be killing me. I tried wearing knee supports etc, and finally listened to sense and paid a visit to my local running shop.



    Apologies if you have already done this, but it sorted my knee problem straightaway
  • shona - what i find is that my feet aren't directly uner my hips, maybe a few inches in front, but as i'm running on the balls of the feet (fore foot striking) then forward motion is natural. if i need to up the pace, i lean forward, from the hips, very slightly and let gravity do its job  - running & walking are controlled falling afterallimage

    i hadn't got the cadence sorted properly until last night when i ran a mile on the dreadmill, counting the number of steps taken by the left foot over 10 secs and multiplying by 6 then doubling. getting 15 steps on the 1 foot in during 10 secs showed how quick the footfall needs to be. the pace of the footfall means that all of the shock of landing was taken by the calves and other leg muscles, making for a very comfortable, springy feeling. it also means that you have very little vertical travel, measured by how much your head bobs about, so aren't wasting energy with un-necessary movement.

    i'm far from an expert in this, but the above is my experience of running in minimalist shoes and how i no longer get knee pain whilst (or after) running.

  • Books have arrived today image
  •  
    dave_s wrote (see)

     

    i hadn't got the cadence sorted properly until last night when i ran a mile on the dreadmill, counting the number of steps taken by the left foot over 10 secs and multiplying by 6 then doubling. getting 15 steps on the 1 foot in during 10 secs showed how quick the footfall needs to be. the pace of the footfall means that all of the shock of landing was taken by the calves and other leg muscles, making for a very comfortable, springy feeling. it also means that you have very little vertical travel, measured by how much your head bobs about, so aren't wasting energy with un-necessary movement. i'm far from an expert in this, but the above is my experience of running in minimalist shoes and how i no longer get knee pain whilst (or after) running.  

    It is all in the arms Dave... the  faster you move your arms the faster you move your feet, simple (I wish).

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