Saturday, August 13, 2011

Runner's Knee and Chi Running

The Captain picked blackberries on our walk yesterday afternoon, so this morning I washed them and had them waiting when he started making our Saturday morning pancakes today.

My plate, waiting for it's cake!

I love blackberries.  He mashes them and puts them in the batter, which makes it a lovely purple, and he always saves a few for the top of my cake.  They are so sweet!

Beauty!  Let me at it.

Just look at the color of that cake.

While I waited for my breakfast to settle I started reading about Runner's Knee.... the symptoms, the causes, the prevention, and most important to me right now... the treatment.

I learned a couple of things that are pertinent to me:

1. Women tend to suffer from it more than men because of the way we are built

2. It usually comes on over time and not immediately (so I won't blame my trail run any more)

3. It might be aggravated by striding out too far

4. It can be helped by keeping the body over the foot as it strikes the ground

5. It may be helped by strengthening the quad muscles and the outer hip muscles and the core

6. Ibuprofen and ice may help

The book I looked at, The Runners' Body, actually suggests side planks (Jill will like this), along with lying leg lifts and calf raising/lowering on a riser.

I have looked at some web sites that suggest curtsy lunges as well.

And the main thing... listen to your body.  If you have pain, don't do the things that cause the pain.  All righty then.  No more daily 5 mile walks, for the time being at least.

But my knee was not aching today, so armed with all of this informtion, I got dressed and laced up my running shoes and off I went... promising The Captain I would quit if I felt any pain and that I wouldn't go more than 3 km. 

I ran the 3km route in the opposite direction today, just for a change of pace.  Interesting how different the neighborhood appears on a Saturday... people in their yards, more traffic on the streets.

I loped along and started thinking about the Chi Running technique that I learned a few years ago... lean forward from the ankles so that the foot comes up behind you and you are not striding out... oh yeah.  That feels good. So much less impact. 

I continued on thinking about that and before I knew it, I was back at the marina and hadn't even done my usual 1-minute walk break after 9 minutes of running. 

I did a really good stretch, making sure to stretch my quads too (still working on that flat-footed squat without holding on - cannot do it yet) and did some standing leg lifts afterwards.

W2 R19.5 W3
stretch 6 minutes

Then I came in and drank some water, cleaned up and ...  green smoothie anyone?

Banana, vanilla Almond Breeze, spinach, Splenda.

A couple of hours later, I am still feeling good.  And I am going to re-read Chi Running to brush up on the technique.

Have you ever experienced Runner's Knee?

Any advice for me?

Have you tried the Chi Running technique?


  1. YUM!!!!! i want those pancakes!!!! looks so delicious. just recently my knee started feeling sore but I have just tried to stick with stretching for now. when my IT was bugging me a lot...I slowed down and focused on keeping my legs more underneath of me and that definitely helped! i will have to go back to that! have not tried that method of chi running but it definitely sounds intriguing...i will have to look into it!

  2. First of all - that pancake looks delicious!!! WOW!

    Runner's Knee is what I have. Ugh! I struggle with it a lot. You are doing the right thing by NOT running if you have ANY pain at all. I have found that helps me a lot. I also ice after every run, even if my knee feels find. I put ice directly to my knee my freezing water in small Dixie cups and rolling it over my kneecap for only about 10-15 minutes.

    What has helped me over the years (Runner's Knee comes and goes) is STRENGTHENING my quads and hip abductors. This takes the pressure off of your knee and puts it back where it should be - your quads and hips. I would be happy to send you some of my physical therapy strengthening exercises. They really do help. As soon as I find them, I will scan them and email them.

    Runner's Knee can be really discouraging because it is so nagging. Don't be discouraged though - I know how you feel! And so far you seem to have a really positive attitude about it (so hang in there!!). You are doing the right things and your body will thank you for it and heal!!

  3. Thanks to both of you for the advice and encouragement.

    Sara, yes will look forward to getting your email.

    I always smile when I read about ICE for injuries. We sailors are notorious for not having ice cause sailboats generally don't have freezers!

    Maybe a good excuse to buy some icecream and use that? :)

    We are doing a house-sit soon though and will have ice there.


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