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5220 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 5, 2010 2:52 PM by TrekoScott
Pekkhum Rookie 1 posts since
Jul 1, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 4, 2010 7:39 PM

Increasing knee pain before marathon. Can I run it?

My first marathon is this Sunday, but I've been having increasing knee pain since 10/6.

I had an MRI this week but won't have results until next, and the pain is getting to a limping level. (And of course I forgot to mention the marathon to my dr...)

Suddenly it occured to me; is it safe to run with an unknown knee condition?

I'd hate to miss my first marathon, but would it be smart to run it?



(specifics on knee:

right, inside of leg side. occasionally feels like it's out of joint and pops back in.

most recently, it aches on the side and down the back of my calf.

it also frequently feels like there is cool liquid running inside the side of my knee.

Occasional gross spongy swelling.)

  • aj01 Pro 143 posts since
    Jul 8, 2008

    It's hard to say for sure one way or the other.  If you're limping while walking, I can't imagine running 26 miles on it.  I've had some similar knee troubles but no swelling.  My diagnosis was some cartilage wear (chondromalacia) but the Dr. said it was OK to run on.  I have very little pain.  It's more of just a weirdness feeling and I also have the popping.  You case sounds different or worse if you have alot of pain and swelling.  At the very least, I'd rest as much as possible, ice your knee, and play it day by day.  I wouldn't give up yet but be willing to.

  • thedevotedrunner Legend 439 posts since
    Jul 7, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 4, 2010 10:41 PM (in response to Pekkhum)
    Re: Increasing knee pain before marathon. Can I run it?

    If it changes your gait (the way you run), NO!!!! If you were to run, two things might happen.  If it started up, you could risk further injury.  If it affected your running stride and you started limping, you would strain OTHER muscles, and possibly injure them.  It is a bummer, I know. but better to walk away and live to run another  day.

    Running the straight and narrow,


    "Run because you love it. If you don't, learn to love it. Running will bring things into your life that you could never imagine." - Scott Jurek, Star of "Born To Run"

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  • PedDoc1 Pro 159 posts since
    Apr 25, 2008

    Short answer, no.

    You have an effusion in the knee... That's what that swelling and mushy feeling is.  That indicates severe knee injury.  If you're lucky, you've only strained a ligament inside the knee joint.  More likely, you have degenerative disease in the knee (like so many of the rest of us).  That degeneration has removed the cartilage from the joint surface inside the knee joint.  Once that starts, it keeps getting worse with wear and tear.  This is what leads to most knee replacements.

    Also, your chances of finishing the marathon with an effusion and pain is very low anyhow.

    How do I know all this?  Same thing happened to me about a month before my first marathon last summer.  I have only recently restarted running.  I only run occasionally.  And I know full well that my running likely accelerates the time table to knee replacement.  It is what it is for some of us.

    Good luck.  By the way, why's it taking so long to get MRI results?  Usually, where I'm at, someone has results in hand within 24-36 hours at most.  Not that your doc wants you to harass him/her over results, but this is probably a biggie. You have a fairly big decision to make fairly quickly.


    05/09 Bridge the Gap, Quincy, Ill HM: 1:45:27
  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009

    As a general rule, I would never recommend running a race (any race, much less a marathon!) with the type of knee pain you are describing. The marathon is a very challenging race to even complete and it can sometimes cause pain and injuries just because of how long it is.


    If you had to get an MRI because of the amount of pain that you're in, I would say that you should not run the marathon this weekend. That could potentially set you up for a worse injury and a huge amount of time spent recovering. It's a bit of bad news, but use it as motivational fuel and learn from this mistake!


    Good luck with your knee! All the best,

    - Fitz.

    Strength Running
  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007

    A pretty basic answer to running with a injury is: If it changes your gait don't run, if it gets worst during a run stop.  Sounds like to me you should not run it, and if you do you have a better than not chance of a DNF which is worst for you mentally.  Most races will let yoy defer you still have many years to get this done.  Good luck

  • TrekoScott Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 5, 2010

    Sounds like you have patellar dysfunction.  Check out an effective self-treament technique at

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