Let's Talk Knee Injuries

Cliff posted a comment asking my opinion on my knee injury and I thought I would share what I learned dealing with the pain for a bit over a month.

Thankfully my knee has seemed to repair itself and I am running pain free right now!

What research I did basically concluded that knee injuries are never straight forward :) (Yeah I know, really helpful!) Lots of different problems can cause knee pain, many not even involved with your knee! When in serious doubt whether or not you are doing damage get yourself into a specialist who can give you sound medical advice. In general the major conclusion I came to which was confirmed by the knee specialist I went to is that if there is no swelling, you probably aren't doing any additional/permanent damage. If there is swelling you have got some serious issues!

In my case I am fairly confident my problems stemmed from an incident about a month before the knee pain cropped up. At dinner one night I got up from the table and smacked my knee on the table leg. It was severely painful for several days over which I iced and used a recovery rub which seemed to solve the problem. (Coincidentally, if you didn't know, Magdalena's injury at the Olympics was also caused by smacking her knee on something. Just goes to show, even Olympians can get thwarted by being plain old clumsy) Oddly though about a month after the table incident my knee pain came back with a fury! I was at GCT and trying to get in a long run while simultaneously cheering for my friends doing the half. This resulted in a lot of different paces and a lot of starting and stopping. Something about that run flared up the pain exactly like it had been after I smacked it on the table. Only this time the pain stayed for a bit over a month. Eventually I went to the doctor who confirmed that I could keep running, but no estimate on when the pain would subside. It appears that I am in the clear. The knee has been a little sore this week post runs but does not linger. I'm guessing everything is just a little sore though after running the biggest week of your life :)

In general for me I think that my quad strength is not as good as it could be and that left my patellar tendon susceptible to my injury. I think the tendon was having to do a bit too much work and the impact injury from the table took a long time to heal. So my focus to keep my knees healthy in the future will be to make sure my quads are strong and flexible. I plan to do that by stretching, yoga, and doing squats or lunges a few times a week.

Everyone is different. I have two friends and my mother right now who all have knee pain and all are caused by different problems. I prided myself on never having dealt with knee pain so it was a sad day when I had to join those ranks, but I think with some research and advice from a doc if you take care of these injuries quickly you will save yourself a lot of future suffering!

Feel free to share your own knee pain stories in the comments.


duchossois said...

I'm glad your knee is feeling good again. I had not heard 'no swelling = no damage' before, but it seems reasonable.

E-Speed said...

I should probably clarify that statement. Obviously if there is pain there is damage, but if there is no swelling you likely aren't doing additional/permanent damage.

Cliff said...


Thanks for the post.

I use to have right knee problem. That was a few years ago when I got into marathon running. Now the pain jumps to the left knee.

Like you, I suspect it is a muscle imbalance. My left quad is not strong enough. With leg exercise, the pain seem to subside.

I also have knee problems when my shoes are worn down.

Other than that, I ice the knees after a hard run and stretch a lot. This season as I am training for the marathon, I don't have too much knee pains.

One more note...interesting is that sometimes when I run, the knee pain will come back. It ain't a sharp pain. More of a dull. After 10 minutes, it just goes away.

Marcus said...

Hi there! I used to check out your site a long time. I'm unhappy to read that you're or benn injured!
But you know what?! Someone like you will be capale of every problem, be it physical or other ...! Best wishes to you from Marcus (GER) who likes what you do!

GP said...

Ooh, lots of knee stories. But first: high five to you on being one incredible pacer. I realize you've paced plenty and run even more... but I was really amazed when I saw your splits. I bet you had one grateful group behind you!

And I did see you on the hill at the end. I was a little loopy at that point, so it took me a minute to process and realize that I could speak to say hello, but it was too late.

But it was a lift to see you and to know that I was almost done!

RunBubbaRun said...

sorry to hear about your knee problems.. I have been having ankle problems.. Doc could not figure out the swelling.. Just called it tendonitis, never mentioned about causing more damage. R.I.C.E always seems to be all cure all. So not sure they are always the best advice.

IHateToast said...

catching up slowly.

it's not a knee thing, but i did do that thing where you step over a branch or large twig only to fling it around to smack the achilles. all i thought was "will this haunt me later?" same with ankle twists. some just twist, some revisit. but they weren't big boo-boos to start with. must be just a matter of a few mm where a nerve or tendon just sits.

no more sitting at tables for you.