I am a fairly new runner and just recently completed my first 5K. Just past the 2 mile mark, I got a dull pain in the front of my knees as I was going up a small hill. The pain didn't last the rest of the race. What could be the cause of this? What should I do besides resting for a few days to a week? I cannot afford to visit the doctor unless absolutely necessary, so home remedies would be appreciated. Thanks.
Note: A year ago I fell in a training run and badly scraped both knees. I did not run (or do any exercise) for about a month after that. I also run with an ankle brace on my left ankle due an old sprain. Also, I did just increase my milage from 2.5 to the full 3.1 and my running time from 25 min. to 40 min.
It could be a number of things, but some of the most obvious considerations would include thigh muscles, foot support, stability/alignment issues, hill work, hard surfaces, overuse and so on. You may want to consider compression sleeves for your knees and different shoes/socks/inserts.
There may be a simple solution, so rule out and change some of the elements (with a combination of efforts) to see if that makes a difference. It is a common concern for runners, but best to take a cautious approach and get a professional opinion. Rapid increases in mileage or speed can also create some problems, and cold packs and leg elevation may help along with just reducing the mileage, running soft, even surfaces and some cross-training for quad strength.
Just being a beginning runner can be painful enough, as your body tries to catch up with, and adapt to these new demands, but a precipitous increase in exercise time and mileage, such as what you just began, is almost guaranteed to hurt. I know that's a run-on sentence, but the concepts need to be considered as a cohesive whole.
True, there may be some tie-in with previous trauma to the knees, but even that can be partly and residually psychological. Painful memories can die hard. Ain't no faking the effects of a sudden increase in workload, though. Seasoned runners may not consider these jumps to be very large, but they can be.. for a non-seasoned runner like yourself.
The general rule of thumb is not to increase time, distance or intensity all at once. Limit yourself to increasing just one of these factors at a time, and to doing it in smaller increments than what you just attempted (eg: 25 to 30 mins one week, or the extra half-mile a couple weeks later). When you cross the line, your body will say no, and that may be what is happening now.