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I am mainly a lurker on these forums, rather than a poster, but can't help but notice just how many posts there are on this particular forum about a) knee problems b) itb problems. Having finally (touches wood) resolved a knee pain that has prevented me from running for the past 10 months, I thought the details of my rehab programme could be useful to some, if not to many!
Up until April last year, I was training for a 40km/1800m+ offroad race and regularly doing runs of 10-25kms. However, 10 months ago, when running downhill, I suddenly experienced a sharp,stabbing pain on the outside of my right knee, just above the patella. It forced me to walk. The pain subsided, so I tried to run again. Nope, too much pain. Since then, the pain recurred every time I tried to run. Weird thing was, I could walk up and down hills no problem. But runing downhill and even repetitive running on a level route brought on the pain
I had an MRI - nothing to see in the area that was giving me the pain. All normal. I noticed that my right foot turned out when I ran rather than tracking straight. Something was puling it out of line. But what? I did my own research on the internet and found some *very* useful information. This page in particular started me on the road to recovery;
I learnt about the body's kinetics, what muscles are connected to what. I learnt about opposing muscles and what happens when particular muscles are not doing the job they are supposed to do. Most importantly, I learnt about gluteal amnesia and discovered that my right glute med was not as strong as it should be and was not 'firing' correctly. The past month has consisted of;
- exercises to strengthen my gluteus medius muscles (the clam, single leg bridge etc)
- exercises to strengthen my VMO (the muscle that runs up the inside of the thigh)
- a stretching routine for both the gastroc and more importantly the soleus muscles in my calf
- a routine to release tension in my right ankle which lost a lot of its flexibility after a bad ankle sprain some years ago
- painful sessions of myofascial release with the foam roller on my itb.
- a series of pilates exercises to strengthen my core
After a month of concerted effort and a daily rehab routine, my right foot is now tracking straight and I am able to complete runs of up to 7kms with steep ascent and descent pain free. I am now going to start upping the distance with the target of a 19km/800m+ offroad race in early June.
I just thought I would share this positive story with anybody out there who is struggling with knee/itb issues at the moment. I am convinced that the majority of these issues *can* be resolved with time and commitment. Don't despair!