Runner’s Knees

I have runner’s knees (patellofemoral pain).

The most annoying pain under one (or sometimes) both kneecaps when I push off my front toes to run. I’ve had them off and on for years and they SUCK! I thought I had become pretty good at preventing them: strengthen quads, stretch ITBs and use foam roller, ice, stop playing sports I love that exacerbate them (like soccer).

I found that they get worse in the summer. I’m not quite sure why this is, but it might have something to do with walking around in flip flops (the muscles in my feet are always tight and sore) that throws off my running mechanics OR the fact that I can’t stop myself from playing soccer.

After having the willpower to say NO to playing soccer with my team, I finally caved in last week. It felt great to be out there competing and getting a workout! I ran the whole game and felt great up until the end. The last 5 minutes of the game I started to have some minor pain in my right knee, kind of like a grinding feeling. I just thought, oh well, I’ll have a bit of soreness for a day or two.

1st place women overall at Charleston 5k Rainbow Run, 2009

Nope! Woke up the next day and nearly couldn’t walk. The next four days actually were like that: me hobbling around like an invalid. By the time the weekend came I knew something was up, but I wanted to push it out of my mind until I got back from July 4th in D.C. But my knee had other plans. As soon as I got up to the humid, hot, stickiness that is the District my knee blew up. It was so swollen, my right leg looked totally different than my left! I don’t have any pics of this because really it was embarrassing. But take if from me, swelling and knee pain are not two good combos. I could barely straighten my knee out!

So this week I bit the bullet and went to the sports medicine doctor at UVa (we have running clinic which is a whole separate sports medicine division!), sure she was going to tell me that I had a torn meniscus or cartilage. But guess what: my dear old friend runner’s knee was back for, what is this time, a much more severe visit. “But I’ve never had any kind of swelling with any of my runner’s knee issues before”, I exclaimed over and over to my doctor. “It has to be something more serious”. Nope. Just this damn annoying as hell condition where my knees become inflamed and my cartilage softens because my knees become misaligned and off track when I run. Let me put it this way: I want to punch runner’s knees in the face (err, or should I say punch them in the knees?). I just want to punch something.

I’ve been confined to the elliptical, probably the biggest torture machine ever invented because it fakes you out: “come work out with me for 30 min“, it says to lure you in. “I won’t give you any sort of runner’s or endorphin high and you won’t burn as many calories, but I’m special“, it claims. Why, WHY elliptical are you so special? I don’t care that all that the college girls do at the gym is use you. It’s the lazy person’s workout! I HATE YOU!!

"I just love working on in my bra top! The elliptical gives me such a great workout!" NOT!

But wait, my hamstrings are killing me today. Maybe there is something to this elliptical thing…

Fine, fine, the elliptical may not be worthless. But it’s still not close to my precious running. All I want to do is RUN!

2009 Jarvis 10k in HILLY Clarksburg, WV

Run to Read 15k

Finishing the 2010 Charlottesville 10 miler

Making my Runner's World Cover debut with Ryan Hall 😉

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4 Responses to Runner’s Knees

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