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So…About that Runner’s Knee…

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

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  1. Victoria

    My latest injury/situation was sciatica caused by gluteal weakness. After targeted PT, I came back stronger and a faster runner. Treat the injury, get faster, kick ass.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Good to know! I am so glad it got better for you. I have my first PT appointment this Friday. I’m looking forward to going and getting this taken care of!

  2. Jennifer

    I experienced some knee trouble when I first started running. I would ice them, wear a brace on the one that hurt the most, and pop Advil, too. Then I got new sneakers and, since then, haven’t had any major pain at all! If I do run extra-long distances, like 8 miles or more (when training for a half), I still wear the brace and ice my knees. I think just doing that regularly helps them heal and supports them when needed. I think you’ll be fine with this because you know you have other forms of exercise that you can do, that you enjoy doing, so you won’t let yourself get down. There’s so many active things to do besides running! Do those things that you can for now, give yourself time to heal, and you’ll be back at it before you know it!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thank you Jennifer! I’ve been swimming a lot and lifting weights. I’m going to yoga tonight. I do have a lot of other activities I can do. It’s just sucks feeling “defective.” Hopefully PT helps.

  3. deb roby

    A lot of those activities you’d think would strengthen your quads? Work both the quads and hamstrings and the imbalance between the two may be the problem.

    Simple fix: sit in a chair and extend one leg. Hold it stationary for 1 minute. Hard? Weak quads.

  4. Lori

    Sorry you are having this problem! I have chondromalacia. You should hear my knees. They sound like rice krispies when I flex them! Strengthening the muscles around my knees has helped with that, especially the hamstrings. Women tend to be quadcentric and that puts a lot of load on the knees.

    Now my back issue is another thing all together and I have had to learn to deal with a permanent injury from that, which sucks, but you just have to accept it when it happens.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      That sounds awful, Lori! Do you experience the pain while cycling at all?

      I wouldn’t be surprised if my hamstring are weak. That’s where I am usually sore when I workout hard. My quads aren’t usually that sore. I will know more Friday after my PT appointment. If I am imbalanced, I’ll do whatever exercises will fix that. I’m just bummed I can’t bike or run. Fall is the best time for that here. 🙁

  5. Maggie

    I had terrible runner’s knee for a while a year/2 years ago. I stopped running (for a number of reasons) and worked on my all around fitness through all different classes and workouts (which it sounds like you’re doing) and now I can run without pain, although I don’t run much because I discovered other workouts I like more, so it was actually not a bad thing.

    Good luck in PT, I’ve been to see some terrible physical therapists and one amazing physical therapist. I highly suggest not stopping until you find an amazing one. Mine listened to what I wanted to do (get back into boxing, be able to do push-ups again) and gave me exercises specifically targeted to that goal. She also had me ease into regular workouts and about two months after my wrist surgery I was back to punching!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      That’s very encouraging news, thank you! I’ve also had bad experiences with PTs before and I will most definitely keep going until I find a good one. It’s important to me that they are athletes themselves because I can’t tell you how many so-called doctor’s “cure” for various injuries was “just stop running.” That’s not a cure!

  6. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    Oh no! Being injured is never fun, but it what opened my eyes to different ways to workout. I have been injured so many times running, I can’t keep track of it all. But I have found a love for biking and yoga as a result! 🙂

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’ve had a similar experience as you, Michelle. My last injury a few years ago lead me to grow to love weight lifting. It was actually a good thing for me. It’s hard to see that in the MOMENT, though…

  7. Kristen @ The Balanced Bowl

    Hi! Thanks for commenting on my blog…it led me to you! I don’t know about runner’s knee (although my knees occasionally ache after running – but 5 miles is my MAX). But I had back surgery in December 2011 and remember having the same thoughts as you. Long story of trying to fix it short, 6 months later I opted for surgery. The doc told me four weeks minimum of not lifting more than 5 pounds, no driving (I work full-time in an office), no running/exercise other than walking. I had been working with a personal trainer for 7 straight years plus running & other various cardio. I had just dropped a few pounds for my wedding and was feeling great when I suffered a bulging disc. I thought my world would come crashing down and I’d turn into a human blimp….and surely I would go broke without pay.

    But I couldn’t walk to my mailbox.

    So I had the surgery, I followed the doctor’s orders (VERY important!), I recovered quickly, and I have lost and kept off an additional 4 pounds. There are some activities I still can’t do or avoid at the gym and I cut back on the number of days a week I work out….but I am just fine. Don’t let your mind override what your amazing body can do for you! 🙂

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’m sorry to hear about your struggle. It definitely sounds like a challenge (no driving?!) but I’m glad to hear that you healed quickly. I will definitely be following the doctor’s orders!

  8. Jess

    I feel your pain! I sprained my left quad muscle a week ago. Apparently it is a very hard muscle to sprain, and I am very talented. Anyway, the original diagnosis was 6 weeks off anything leg related, which included running and leg weights. I must be a good healer, because as of yesterday I am allowed to start light leg weights (to rehab the muscle) and as long as there is no pain I can start walk/running again when I am ready. So, yay! The moral is, maybe you’ll heal quicker than you thought?

    Also, does your gym have a boxing class? GREAT cardio workout and my leg didn’t hurt at all.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’m sorry to hear about your quad! How did you sprain it? God that sounds painful. It’s good news that you’re healing fast. Crossing my fingers I do too!

  9. Vanessa

    I had patella femoral syndrome in both knees. I initially went the PT route with some success. Anytime I would increase my activity, my knee pain would flair up. Using a foam roller on the IT band helped a bunch. I focused on the lateral side of my knee. Keeping your knee bent intensifies the stretch. I finally broke down and had a lateral release on each knee. The surgery was super easy. I got off the recovery table and walked to the car. I was taking spin classes five weeks later. Once you have exhausted your other treatments, don’t be afraid of the surgery route. I am so happy I did it. Just make sure you see a physical therapist after surgery. You want to make sure you heal properly and regain strength appropriately.

  10. Karen P

    I had joint pain ( knees) and some plantar facitits. About 10 days after I cut out all grains , especially wheat, things got noticeably better. Paleo/Primal style of diet is meant to be low inflammatory.

    The Paleo solution or the Primal Blue Print books are good reads. Also, by cutting grains I can keep my carbs lower, which makes weight maintnence much easier. I’ve found through tracking at my fitness pal,that my carb weight maintenance window is very narrow. This explains why I was not successful in the past with long term goal weight maintnence. The decrease in inflammation is a bonus to toss in there.

    Good luck. I know you can modify your diet to match your activity level. Hope everything heals up quickly.

  11. I ❤ 2 Eat

    I have terrible, terrible knees. They are part of the reason I find running to be difficult, but I’ve done it anyway (not for a while now, though). Like you, my knee pain is random and sporadic…I thought it was only me! I get tendonitis fairly often when I run. In terms of healing, icing and Advil are your best friends. When I had some physiotherapy, the therapist said that I had to do wall sits and strengthen my quads, and my husband says the same thing to me all the time, too. Best of luck with the knees…rest up and drink lots of water!

  12. Alan (Pounds Off Playoff)

    Thanks for writing about this, and I found the graphic very clear and helpful. What gets me about knee injuries is how quickly they can pop up and become a major factor in your life. Before this year (I am 41), I hadn’t had any knee problems, despite carrying way too many pounds. This year I hurt my knee playing softball (and running some intervals to try to get in shape for softball, ironically.) And it’s persistent. Even walking hills has been touchy. Biking seems to help, as it stimulates blood flow without the impact. I think you’re definitely on the right track that muscle strength around the knee is closely related. I had both calf and hamstring pulls before my knee really got to a bad place. Good luck with your knees!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I wish I could remember where I found the picture because it’s so helpful. It cleared up a lot of stuff for me in terms of issues I’ve had with my knees. Like you, I didn’t have knee issues despite carrying over 100 pounds (other than some joint pain) so it’s kind of a surprise to be healthy, fit and have issues. Glad biking helps you! My hope is that I can get back to biking soon (probably sooner than the running I imagine).

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