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8126 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 11, 2012 2:27 PM by Eldorado Mike
Skizoke Rookie 6 posts since
Jun 13, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 17, 2012 12:54 PM

Hello all, looking for advice about running and dealing with knee pain.

Here is a brief rundown of me. I am currently a 40 year old male. 6'2" and 244 pounds. I'm not really new to running but I am justrecently getting back into it. April 21, 2010 I weighed in at 316 pounds and since then I have slowly lost weight and improved my times on running. When I did my 1st mile on a treadmill then it took me a little over 20 minutes. Now Iam doing 1 mile just under 9 minutes and my most recent 5k was 33:28.


Anyways, to get to the part about the knee pain I need to explain what has happened to my knee. I had a compound fracture of my left femur when I was 13 (Sep 30, 1985 to be exact) and since then I have had 4 other surgeries, one of them being an Osteotomy. My most recent surgery was Jan 25th of this year when they had to repair a torn meniscus and scrape away somebone spurs. The doctor said then that my knee was not providing enough natural lubrication and I would have to have weekly injections for 3 weeks to help withthat. It did provide some temporary relief but I cannot keep getting these shots.I can only have 3 of them every 6 months.


I just wanted to give you all a rundown of my current healthand fitness to maybe help me with my goals. Some people say if it hurts when you run then don't run. Well, I understand the logic to that but like many of you I like running. So not running is a last resort. I don't get much pain when running but it is usually pretty bad the day after. I am thinking cutting backon the actual running and mainly only running for organized events is an option if I can still improve my run times by doing other forms of cardio.


Bicycle and elliptical hurts because something about that motion causes my left knee to pop a lot. Row machine and versa climber does notbother me. What I am getting at is it really possible for me to improve my runtimes without actually running a ton?


I did a 5k on March 31 and finished in 36:49 (My first 5k)

I did a 5k on June 30th and finished in 31:58

I did another 5k on July 14th and finished in 33:28. I know I should be getting better in timesbut the heat really kicked my tail and I had more pain going on that the previous run so I was forced to walk a decent amount.


Any advice is welcome!

  • Coach_Christine D Rookie 4 posts since
    Jan 21, 2008

    Hi! I can understand you would like to keep running, I think a good compromise would be to include water running. Or have you ever thought about doing triathlons? Basically the idea is to include some runs but at the same time to also focus on other workouts. Many "injured" runners start doing triathlons for exactly that reason and they love it! It's a great full body workout and the sport gets more popular every year!


    Run happy *Dream big!

  • rcuriel Pro 178 posts since
    Mar 2, 2011

    I'm a little older and probably have a bit more mileage on my legs.  In 1998 tore my right meniscus and had arthroscopic surgery.  While they were cleaning up they woke me up to say there was a whole in my cartilage should they deburr and drill?  Not knowing better I said yes.  When I went for my follow up with the ortho surgeon I asked when I could start running again. His reply was never.  If I ran he said my knee would last maybe 10 years, if no running maybe 20.


    I did try running several times, but after a couple of days of running my knee would start to ache.  2.5 years ago read "born to run" and thought might be able to do this if I go back to a forefoot strike.  My knees feel fine and I've been able to put training time in and have PR in my second running career in the 5K of 23:31 - not that fast, but not that slow.  I completed a half marathon earlier this year in 2:14 - not great, but not bad.  I'm running again and that in itself is a good thing.  I typically run in Vibram 5 fingers (models KOS,Bikila and Komodo).  I frequently run on the treadmill in barefeet and socks.  I do run in "regular" shoes, a pair of Nike Frees and some Addidas racing flats, but prefer to run in the Vibrams.


    The barefoot/minimalist style does take time.  You're moving load from knees and hips to arch, ankles/achilles and calves.  Best advice I could give is take your time.  Before the injury I could still do a sub 48:00 10k pushing a stroller, but it had been 11 years and I was out of shape.  I pulled calf muscles every other week, strained achilles tendons, morton's neuroma and oddly enough suffered a freak knee injury.  The achilles injury caused a 6 month hiatus.  I found some exercises that seem to be helping on that front.  My knees feel good these days and unaffected by the training.  When I can't run, I erg (rowing).  I don't enjoy it as much as running, but it helps suppliment things.  These days, I've been walking on my off days, but erging would be better for me.


    I'm a lot smaller and lighter then you, but you're close to Chris McDougall (sp?) size (I think he's slightly taller) so you might want to check out "Born to Run".  I think his experience and problems are closer to yours.


    Good Luck!



  • rcuriel Pro 178 posts since
    Mar 2, 2011



    Your feet adapt pretty quickly.  If you try it, do it slowly.  I tried a 2 mile run my first time out and my calves were screaming.  Your feet have a lot of muscles and bones that need to be built up to handle the load and it can take some time to strengthen them.  But, the skin seems to adapt more quickly.  I didn't think I would ever do real barefoot running, but I have on occasion and yes outside.  Don't expect to go out and run as quickly as you do with shoes at first.


    As far as shoes go, best evidence is type/cost of shoe makes very little difference in injury rates.  There are lots of hypothesis involved, but very few studies.

    Here's an article on some





  • JJsFX Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 26, 2012

    Have you tried any "joint juice"? I'm 42 and 130lb female and run 20-30mi/wk. I have had issue with my left knee and started taking the liquid glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM supplement. It has really helped me. New shoes too. I get fitted in my running shoes, currently Brooks Adrenalin (previously Asics Kayano), and see an othropedist for foot issues. No surgeries or shots. I have inserts which help my high arches and give me stability. It's my understanding that the shots will cause scar tissue which lead to more pain and issues. I'm with you on the barefoot thing. It hurts to walk barefoot on a hard surface. I can't imagine minimalist shoes in my situation. Core strength and hamstring/quad strength also makes a difference. Make sure your posture is correct so you're not putting strain on your hips and knees. Soaking in ice baths helps as well. I run (outside) every other day and do some other form of exercise in between like yoga and free weights. Elliptcals hurt my hips and knees so I stay off of them. Stretching after a run and recovery protein shakes help as well. Good luck to you!! My pace isn't as important to me as finishing the distance I've set as my goal

  • DeanBard Rookie 5 posts since
    Oct 17, 2011



    Look up Chi running.   It will take the stress off your knees.  It takes a little while to learn but well worth it. 



  • KimberleyB Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 5, 2007

    Hi Skizoke,


    I am going to add to all these replies with my 2 cents as someone who tried and failed to train for a marathon in her 20's, because of knee pain (mostly from too much skiing and one leg a centimeter longer than the other) to being a 45 year old who has run 14 marathons in the last 5 years, including 3 Boston Marathons.  Needless to say I'm passionate about running. 


    1.  Your #1 priority is enjoying your runs.  That means you should focus more on remaining injury free and less on improving speed.  The former will eventually allow the later.


    2.  You ache more the next day.  This means your soft tissues are tightening up.  Incorporate stretching and deep tissue massage into your routine - after runs and off days.  Invest in a Rumble Roller (google it online) and use it to work out knots, trigger points and scar tissue in your tendons and muscles of the hips, butt, thighs (front, back, outside, inside).  Can also use a tennis ball in a sock to get at knots.   Also, find a good sports deep tissue massage therapist to do ART massages occasionally.


    3.  Don't forget stretching.  Knees usually hurt because muscles are tight.  Can find good ones on the internet for IT Band, hamstrings, thighs, calfs.  A good one for knee pain is knee on second step, facing forward, heel to the butt.  Bend forward for stretching the hip flexors.


    4.  If you don't have gait issues, I would recommend a neutral shoe, not too much cushion, but enough while you are building support muscles for the pounding.  I have a neutral with an orthotic.  I try to run without the orthotic, but eventually my right knee starts to bother me.  We all learn by trial & error.  That's what makes running so interesting.


    5.  Definitely look into Danny Dryer's ChiRunning.  I have his book and DVD.  He comes to the Boston Expo every year.  Order his book or get it from the library.  Not the marathon training one, but the basic Chi Running book and read it from cover to cover.  Born to Run is a great read.  It's my favorite book, but it won't help hone your running form.  Read it after ChiRunning.


    6.  Start taking Omega-3 fish oil for anti-inflammatory properties.  Costco has a concentrated Natures Bounty that only requires one a day.  Start eating a tablespoon of Chia Seeds everyday.  It's the best superfood you can eat and also has an amazing amount of Omega-3.  Consider Glucosamine-condroitin - give it a few months and if you don't feel it's working stop taking it. 


    7.  Run every other day.  At our age, our bodies need that extra recovery time.  It's part of the training and can be used for stretching and massaging.


    Good luck!


  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    • Barefoot and minimalist running sounds unbearably painful because we can only think about it from the standpoint of taking off our shoes right now and going out for a run.  If you do it tha tway it WILL be unbearably painful.  If you take it very slow and in small steps it is ASTOUNDING what your body can do.  While I'm not a barefooter now I did it for a while.  As an example of slow - for the first 2-3 weeks I only walked outside - no running.  You have to introduce the feet (be it barefoot or minimalist) very slowly and wake up all those foot muscles).
    • If you haven't had your hips checked out you might do that.  In fact, a visit to a really good PT might make sense for a host of reasons.  They can find possible muscle imbalances or other muscle problems that can impact knee pain.  Muscle issues way away from the pain can be the cause of the pain.
    • Ironically, many foot docs push artificial support where - in reality (IMHO) - artificial foot support can actually make the foot WEAKER and consequently MORE susceptible to injury.  My foot doc says frequently "The foot was meant to move.".
    • Born To Run is a fantastic read and very inspirational.  It's also a recipe for injury if it inspires you too much.  MacDougall covers probably the hardest part of the process in just flash:  (apologies for the rough summary).  "I worked with a coach to change my form and then I could run forever pain free."  That's kind of like Steve Martin's skit "How to be a millioinaire and not pay taxes.  First, get a million dollars."  Changing your form takes a LOT of work.  Chi Running is one that is popular.  So is Pose Method.  Born To Run, in my opinion, makes it sound like the only thing you need to do is take off your shoes.  That's one, but not the only, thing.  You must run in the right form.  If you don't you'll be in a world of hurt.



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Steven Steinhardt Rookie 2 posts since
    Feb 5, 2012

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned your weight as being a culprit to your knee pain. At 244lbs you are considered a "heavy runner". I would recommend you focus on weight loss before you take on running. At your height, even 180lbs would be a lot of stress on your joints, especially if the surrounding muscles are weak.


    Do low impact workouts like swimming or eliptical machines, Work on building your overall strength and flexibility, and have a strong discipline with your diet. And when you get down to 190lbs, pick up running again.

  • Eldorado Mike Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 17, 2011

    First, congratulations on your successes to date, you've made great improvements so far. Second and most obvious, is a reminder of the importance of warming up prior to your runs, that's what gets the bursis sacs stimulated and the synovial fluid moving. A 5 minute walk prior to my runs always helps me minimize my knee pain.

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