20 years ago I was a runner. And I loved it! Actually, I never did love the running but I loved one thing: I could eat anything I wanted, and lots of it, but I was always thin. I finally had to quit, though, because of runner's knee agony. At first I ignored it – which definitely was NOT wise. But it became so excruciating that I sometimes couldn't even walk without twinges and misery. So I reluctantly gave up running. There was no runner's knee treatment – or at least I couldn't find one. Knee strengthening exercises? Yeah, a halfhearted, misguided effort that did no good at all.
"Why Does My Knee Hurt?"
In researching this subject, I discovered there are a lot of fancy names for the sore knee runners often get. For example, it's often called patellofemoral pain syndrome, or PFPS (patellofemoral describes the interface between your kneecap and your thigh bone). Another term frequently used to describe it is patellar chondromalacia or softening of the cartilage.
"SO WHAT!" you're probably yelling. "I don't care what it's called. How do I fix it? And how do I stop it from happening again?"
Medical Notions About Fixing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Alias 'Agony')
Although there are a variety of terms used for runner’s knee, where things really get confusing is what is done for this misery. Below is what the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, widely regarded as a world leader in the surgical treatment of the knee, suggests for runner's knee:
"Activity modification: physical activities should by decreased by 30% and should be limited to those with no impact, such as swimming or bicycling. Uphill walking or treadmill at a 7% grade is also a good choice. Exercises that cause pain should be avoided."
Obviously, that's good advice but there are multiple questions:
- How long should I stop running?
- Should I stop activities only if the activity hurts or should I stop activities which seem to make me hurt later?
- What if no activity hurts at the time I do it, but I hurt two days later?
- What if I don't hurt, but my knee feels stiff? Is that ok?
"I Just Want To Run Again Without Pain!"
1. RECOVERY is followed by restoration of flexibility, strength, and endurance of the hip and foot as well as increasing strength of the knee joint from the inside out.
2. RESTORATION: in the restoration phase, you’ll add certain nutraceuticals or supplements to help your joints heal and become stronger and learn how to modify certain daily activities to avoid re-injury of your knee.
3. RETRAINING: you have to re-train your leg to handle the impact of running; to prevent future injuries, you’ll have to examine and likely change your training regimens. Leg strength and endurance are key factors in the prevention of runner’s knee and you can’t get strong by just running.
7 Reasons We Approve of "The Runner's Knee Bible"
1. What's in this runner's knee treatment program? Well, first of all there's a 215 page guide that includes are more than 100 photos. It's amazingly comprehensible – meaning, I actually understand what I'm reading about joints and such. Time for another whine … wish I had this before I had to give up running. Sigh.
2. Secondly, there are 40 videos that demonstrate all the knee strengthening exercises and other remedies that the author, Doug Kelsey, offers. The Runner's Knee Bible has a comprehensive, 3-stage plan to get you running again.
3. Further, there are tests so that you will get objective feedback on your progress. No guessing. Instead you will know where you should be in the Recovery – Restoration – Retraining cycles. Doing knee strengthening exercises incorrectly will just make your problem worse.
4. The Runner's Knee Bible includes a publication called "Stumbling Blocks" which is explained this way: "A stumbling block is anything that causes you to “lose your footing” or trips you up. And if you think about it, usually you don’t see the thing coming. You’re walking along and then just suddenly trip over something along the way." That will NOT happen to you if Doug Kelsey has his way.
5. Included are some training logs to help you keep on track rather than relying on often-foggy memory. More in the objective feedback department: a way to score your rehab (For each GREEN, enter 3 points, For each YELLOW, enter 2 points, For each RED, enter 1 point.)
6. We are very impressed with Kelsey's credentials. He isn't some doofus who jotted down a bunch of theory. He's been a performance coach and physical therapist for 30 years with over 20,000 consultations and 100,000 training sessions under his belt. He's an author, inventor, and teacher (formerly Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center), he holds two patents, has written articles for scientific publications and conducted over 250 seminars. Best of all for runners, he had a knee problem himself that resulted in surgery. His doctor declared, “You know, you’ll never run again.” Wrongo, doc!
7. BlissPlan was founded because of the belief that we humans and our bodies are a lot more powerful than "the authorities" believe. The program is a testament to that same belief:
"When I was in PT school, I was taught that we all get “one dose” of cartilage and when it starts to wear out, that’s it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You just live with it."
That, apparently, isn't true at all and something CAN be done about the cartilege in your knee. Bravo! Don't let the 'experts' keep you down!!!
Get back outside with this runner's knee treatment
program from a 30 year physical therapist and runner