Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lesson Learned

What was I thinking?  I don't do practically any running for almost an entire year and my first run I do 3.5 miles.  I then continue to do 4 miles at each run and then on this very last run, I cut my time by 15 minutes.  Sounds like I'm improving right?  Well, yeah, in a way I am.  But what I've also done is given myself my first running injury: my knees.  Frankly, while I've been able to get back into running fairly easily, I've also been rather impatient to get back to where I was and have been pushing myself a bit too hard.  After a recent run, I noticed my knees aching quite a bit.  I did sprint that last little bit of that run, so I thought I probably just strained them a bit.  Well, the next run, my knees were screaming at me the for the first 2 miles.  I've had knee aches before, but this was outright knee pain, bordering on knee agony.  So now, a week before I'm to run a 5K, I'm having to pull back a bit to let my knees rest and hope that I still have it in me to run a 5K.  Lesson learned:  be patient with yourself, or you risk injury.

Hopefully my lesson can help someone else from making the same mistake.  But I also found that knee pain is something that most runners complain about at some point.  After doing some research, I've found some common causes that all have pretty simple fixes.

First common cause of knee pain is called:  Runner's Knee or Chondromalacia of the patella.  This is pain around and sometimes behind the knee cap.  It is one of the most common causes of knee pain amongst runners.  "The pain often feels worst when running downhill or walking down stairs, and the knee is often stiff and sore after sitting down for long periods. You might hear a crunching or clicking sound when you bend or extend your knee."  Luckily, there is a way to manage this type of pain.
This is an easily treatable injury with a little patience. First, relieve the pain by icing your knees immediately after running. You can use commercially available cold packs or simply put a wet towel in the freezer before you run. Wrap the cold packs around each knee for about fifteen minutes to bring down the swelling. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or aspirin after running, too, but only with food and never before running. Before bed, put heating pads or warm wet towels on your knees for half an hour. Stabilize your feet. Make sure you have the right kind of shoes for your foot type (review our tips on shoe shopping). Consider buying a commercially made foot support in the footcare section of your drug store. If, in combination with thigh-strengthening exercises, the foot supports are not enough to get rid of the injury, see a podiatrist about whether you might need orthotics.
I think this is what I have because one of the causes, besides pushing yourself too much, is running on a road with banked edges, meaning the road slopes down at the sides for water run off.  This makes sense why I never had this problem with I would run on sidewalks. 

Two other main causes of knee pain are Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Baker's Cyst.  You can read about them, just click on their links. 

Hopefully, none of you are being as stupid as I am and are gradually running farther and faster.  Happily, with the knowledge I've gained, I know how to prevent such injuries from occuring and I know to manage them as well. 

Source:  Cool Running

Comment time:  Anyone have knee problems when running?  Or any other injuries?


Josh said...

We've all been there before!

Maren said...

A lot of times a knee injury can be helped and/or prevented by wearing the right shoes. My husband and sister recently visited the new Teton Running store and were amazed at the great care they took to show you the right shoe for you to prevent injury. They make a movie of you running and help you choose a shoe that would best benefit you and your running style. Some of these knee injuries are usually recurrent and can be helped with a specific chiropractic adjustment coupled with some Kinesio tape and a good shoe. My husband does this and uses the Kinesio taping as well. He would be happy to answer any questions you may have about running...he is an avid runner too! Him and Teton Running refer back and forth, because without the proper alignment and support to begin with, a shoe can only help so much, yet with the wrong shoe, an adjustment can only go so far. So together they are making runners everywhere HAPPY! Visit www.evochiropractic.com for more info.

Anna said...

The thing is, I thought I had good shoes. Maybe they were good when I ran on sidewalks, but not for road running. I've heard about Teton Running and want to go check it out. Hey, maybe they'll be a sponsor on my blog!!