Runners Kneesup

runners knee
Anyone who has read my blog before will know I like to run and that recently I have been suffering from some knee issues – probably runners knee. Today I got some news about the long-running knee saga.
Runners Knee

On a visit to see my GP a few weeks ago, he referred me to the physiotherapist for treatment. He quashed my fears that rheumatoid arthritis was the cause and suggested it may be a patella tracking issue. He also said I was okay to resume light jogging, and I did.

Light Jogging

The trouble with me and running is that I don’t like jogging. For me, jogging somehow seems inferior to running. Oh, why could he not have said I could resume light running – that sounds so much better to me? Anyway, I did resume running and was soon pushing myself. It was going so well, but then – SNAP! A week last Monday my evening run ended in disaster when the pain in my knee with every stride was agony.

It was still a week and a half until my physio appointment so all I could do was stop running and rest the knee as much as I could. There was no swelling so no icing was needed. I was using my right leg more though, for things such as going up and down stairs. It started to feel improved this week (notice I didn’t say better). Last night I decided it felt well enough for a light (*cough) jog. I justified it by telling myself that if it flared up I had something to tell the physio.

Knee Bones

physiotherapy in Malton hospitalMy day of reckoning arrived and I entered the pain chamber at Malton hospital. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, isn’t it? In fact, my physio for the day was a lovely lady called Carol. After listening to me drone on and on about my various issues she got fed up of my stories of raising teenagers and asked about my knee. Once I had regaled her with my knee saga she set about assessing my body. Ohhh errr!

She gave my legs a thorough going over and twisted me this way and that. She seemed disappointed when I didn’t flinch in pain and each particular test. After contorting me into various positions she had a diagnosis!

The Diagnosis

vastus medialis oblique

Carol hit the nail on the head quite squarely when she said that I don’t stretch properly after running. She is right – I don’t. In fact, I’ve become really bad at stretching and generally doing anything to maintain my body outside of running. Most of my leg muscles are way too tight and my IT band (ITB)is bordering on being as stiff as a board. The ITB is the root cause by the sounds of things. Because of its tightness, it is pulling my patella (knee cap to you and me) to the outside of my leg. This then means that the kneecap isn’t running properly in the groove in my femur, thus causing me pain.

Then the is the VMOs (vastus medialis oblique) muscles, these are part of the quadriceps. This particular group of muscles are ones I need to strengthen to help pull my patella back into the line. I have work to do.

Work To Do

Carol gave me a sheet with all the stretches and exercises I need to be doing. But, she also advised I seek out more stretch and strengthening exercises on the whole. So that is what I shall do.

stretching

I must make more time to stretch post-run but also to take part in some cross-training to develop my strength and conditioning overall. I do intend to start cycling again this spring and make more time for swimming too.

It was actually a bit of a wake-up call for me. I have been neglecting my physical condition in the belief that running along was doing me good. In actual fact, the running without stretching and conditioning has what has caused me all this pain. So the change starts today. I am going to setup and daily stretching routine and start to build in other elements from there.

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