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The pain is around my kneecap and under the kneecap. It hurts when going down stairs and after I keep it bent for long periods. Its slowly getting better but still has its moments, like mornig is the worst. Not sure why morning is the worst. When it first started morning is when it felt the best.
I'm not a doctor (or an veteran runner!) but it definitely sounds like "runner's knee" (chondromalacia). Ibuprofen will definitely lessen the pain you're feeling but you're going to have to rest your knee as well. If there's any swelling, definitely ice it. Other than that, you're gonna have to rest it.
This article has a test for runner's knee, as well as symptoms and treatment. Your symptoms are spot on.
Just checking in. Have you tried running or are you taking it easy until the run? I agree with the others that have said to take it easy and not push it. By the way, this same thing happened to me last year (except one week before the '08 South Shore half) so I know how frustrated you must be right now. How's the knee feeling now? Hope all is well.
Thanks for checking in JFieber! I have been taking it easy. I ran about one mile last week, but other than that nothing. It is feeling better and I am tempted to run a couple short ones, but am also worried that will reaggrivate it before Saturday's race. Ofcourse you get mixed advice with some people saying run through the pain, but I honestly don't think that is wise with runner's knee. So I think I will just continue to let it rest. It still hurts sporadically for absolutely no reason, which is unbelievably frustrating. I have been doing stretches and some strengthing stuff so I hope that is helping. I am just extremely nervous about the race and my ability to keep up with taking two weeks off.
Did you still do the half last year? How did you do with the runners knee? Did you take that week before it off?
well, i didn't want to be a downer so i didn't mention that i couldn't run it last year. i had to opt out and went to PT and they showed me some exercises to strenthen my hip flexors and shin/calfs as they diagnosed it likely to have occured due to my other muscles lack of strength and the fact that i'm a way overpronator (too much jarring of the knee). good news was that the PT worked and i came back for the fall to run the badgerland strider 20k and the discovery run way above my goal times. i also over-trained last year and have finally corrected my ways so hopefully that will decrease my chance of injury (although i did something to my ankle this weekend that is causing it to be really sore today and giving me some worry for this weekend). but don't take my case to be a reflection on your result as it's different from one person to the next. from what i hear, these tweaks have a way of working themselves out a lot.
good luck this week and let me know if you want to meet up for a quick hello during pre-race warmups. hopefully we'll be limp-free!
Wow, your story is just like mine! I developed significant left knee pain about 2 weeks right before my first half. I had to bring my training basically to a STANDSTILL. I ran 12 miles one week before the race just to prove to myself I could run for at least 2 hours without stopping. I ran on baseball fields and tolerated it OK.
But sure enough, I had good ol' Runner's Knee. After taking the ENTIRE week off before my first half, I said to myself, "Well, I'm just gonna finish this sucker." I ran the 13.1 miles comfortably the whole way. Finished in 2:12. (was hoping for less than 2 hours, but alas, next time awaits).
Anyway, I SYMPATHIZE. Here's what I've learned about Runner's Knee (FWIW):
Here's a few tips:
1. If your knees hurt more walking downstairs than walking up them - guess what?
You have RUNNER'S KNEE!
2. If your knees hurt BADLY after a very long run or after a run with lots of hills - guess what?
You have RUNNER'S KNEE!
3. If your feet are anywhere near flat, and you don't have a good shoe that PREVENTS over-pronation, and you have knee pain - guess what?
You have RUNNER'S KNEE!
4. In fact, if you have pain ANYWHERE around your kneecap, under your kneecap, on your kneecap, or even 26.2 miles from your kneecap - guess what?
You STILL probably have RUNNER'S KNEE!
Why? Because "common things are common" and anybody who logs tons of miles goes through a laundry list of personal injuries. It's part of the great challenge. In fact, many folks say it is the ENTIRE challenge. The challenge of doing a half or a full marathon isn't putting in the mileage. Heck, that's the EASY part. The challenge is getting to the starting line without a side-lining injury. Ask any serious runner. You'll get the same answer from all of them.
TREATMENT OPTIONS YOU ASK? Rest, ice (bags of frozen peas are STILL the best), ACE wrap, rest, more rest, a good shoe to prevent over-pronation, quad strengthening exercises (do them sitting, never standing), and my personal fave...TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE. When you log the long distances, your form fades. We all get sloppy. Knees start to collide. Hips rotate inward. The lumbar back slumps outward instead of inward. All of which increases "pressure load" on the knee joint. Add in downhill running, and your knees are TOAST. The usual story is "I was OK while I was running, but I could barely walk afterwards...." EXACTLY. All your juices were flowing during your long run, but now you're in PAIN.
It's all fixable. Be patient, listen to your body, and when you run, run TALL. Don't slump over looking at the ground. Your poor form loads pressure onto the knee. You should be looking way ahead and even at times at the SKY. Chest out. Buttocks in. Hips out. Knees away from each other. In short, good form. Good luck.
You might have muscle imbalances that are causing stress on your knee, particularly as you pile on the miles. The other posters are right though - you're a-ok for aerobic fitness at this point. You'll be fine - enjoy the race!
Personally, I would try running a slow ~3 miles on it 5-7 days before the half, if you reaaalllly need to prove to yourself that you haven't lost the ability. But rest would be better so you can run the half with a fresh knee. Then, after you recover from the half, I'd suggest two things:
1) Go to a running store where they can determine whether you need a stability shoe.
2) Start doing some strength training to help strengthen your quads, hip adductors, and whatever else might be out of balance.
Also, if you're not doing so already, start keeping track of the mileage on your shoes to make sure you're replacing them every 300-500 miles.
I have gotten new shoes but don't want to break them in at te half marathon. I also got some Berry Superfeet. I have been doing stretches and some strengtening and it feels like it is helping. If it continues to bug me after the race and the switch to the new shoes and superfeet, then I will see my ortho guy to get some PT.
My focus is just the race now and then taking care of the aftermath. I am hoping since it is doing so well, it will not bug me much that day.
Anyone have any advice for race day regarding the knee or just in general as I have not run in 2 weeks by that point? There are conflicting opinions about braces for runners knee and whether they help or hurt.
This story is so similar to mine that it is scary. I was running like mad to train for a half on 3/29 and then the knee pain started. I ended up taking 2 weeks off before my first half in NH. Ran it and found that the rest really did help my knee and did not hurt my time too much either. Ran it in 2:07:42 and am pretty pleased for a first half.
Go out and run your race. Get home and ice the heck out of it.
Thanks jefries! That makes me feel so much better about Saturday. I will make sure to have ice in the car so I can ice it right away on the way home from the race. How were they after the race like the day after and the week after? Did you get back to running soon after or take some additional time off?
The amount if pain is decreasing daily. Today I was at a meeting all day were I could not put my leg up, and to my surprise it really did not hurt! Now walking the dogs and being pulled is a whole other story. But I am also finding that if they do hurt from sitting or something, the pain eases pretty fast by either stretching it out or by keeping it straight.
So the big day is tomorrow!!!! I am so excited and nervous at the same time. The knee is feeling pretty good so I hope it will hold out. ThHanks for all the good thoughts and encouragment!
I have similar knee issues to yours. Thanks for asking your question because the answers you received have helped me.
Good luck on you race! I look forward to hearing about it.
My Horrible first half experience-
Weather was in the mid 30's with wind. So mile 1 no problem. Mile 2 side cramp, finally got it to go away around mile 3. Around mile 5-5.5 my knee started hurting pretty good. By the half way point my knee really did not want to bend anymore but I continued. At mile 8, my knee said screw you and was officially done with running. So I walked for a bit trying to see if it would cooperate again. It did not hurt nearly as bad when I walked. Everytime I tried to run I had a very sharp pain on the outside of my knee that kindof radiated up my leg (I know it sounds like ITBS). By mile 9 I was just done and my knee refused to run anymore.
I am so utterly disappointed with myself and my inability to push through and finish the last 4 miles. But at the same time I think I was smart in stopping as last year I had a stress fracture close to where the pain was today, so I am worried that I possibly re-injured that.
Any similar stories? Any words of wisdom or encouragement? I am feeling very down and upset with myself and feel like I disappointed everyone who knew I was running today especially after last years stress fracture that benched me from a marathon.
You were SMART to stop and you shouldn't feel dissapointed for doing the right thing, (even though it may feel bad now). Anyone who's ever gone through knee surgery and the months of excrusiating and exhausting rehab (mine was a torn ACL and MM from a ski injury), will tell you, it's NOT worth it. I always look back on the stupid thing I did on the slopes which caused me to injure my knee, and I feel nothing but regret. And... while I am back to running, I still feel pain and will always worry about re-injuring my knee.
There is always going to be another half-marathon to do, but you only have one body and it's sacred!!
Hope you feel better soon!!