In mid- December I fell during a run and landed on my right knee. It was sore and then felt better. I resumed running and was doing okay until a week and a half ago when I ran on a road with a steeper slope on the shoulder and it aggrivated my knee to the point where I couldn’t run at all. I had to call for a ride.
So I haven’t been able to run pain-free since then. I saw a sports doc on Tuesday and was diagnosted with Iliotibial band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome. (So “runner’s knee” and “the other runner’s knee”. I’m starting physical therapy tomorrow.
I have done a lot more cross training last week and this week, because I don’t want to lose my fitness level. I tried Zumba, Pilates and Spin this week. Zumba was a disaster since I have no rhythm, but Pilates and Spin were fun.
I should have been starting my marathon training plan this past weekend, but I’m still on hold from running. I’m hoping that PT will get me back on track and I can resume running and I will still be able to make it to the starting line of the marathon. I had an appointment with one PT place, but then was given the name of a different place closer to work. The guy I’m seeing is a running coach and the go-to guy for running injuries.
Any other running bees who went through physical therapy? Any advice or suggestions to maintain my fitness while I can’t run?
I was diagnosed with the same thing after running the NY marathon in 2011. PT helped really quickly and I WILL tell you that you will notice a difference in your gate, and your hips will feel stronger and better in general as they go through the exercises with you and you strengthen. When I haven’t done my exercises in awhile I can now feel how weak and wobbly my hips really are.
You should be able to do anything that isn’t high impact, doing interval training on the eliptical is competely exhausting for me and in a different way than running so I would try that. Of course keep doing spin and other things like that. I dont have a ton of advise just to do your excercizes as often as they say so that you can get better quickly! it shouldn’t take long for you to be able to start running again.
Aww, I had IT band syndrome but it was bothering me in my hip. Every time I took a step, the IT band popped (audibly) across the bone that sticks out and I got terrible bursitis from it. The doctor taught me all of the stretches and exercises the trainers were going to do and said I could fix my injury myself since it didn’t get severe. After about 2 weeks of doing exactly what he said, all pain is gone and it only pops every now and then.
I’m still so new at running so I dont know much about cross training while injured. I just lifted weights, did squats, went swimming and did (non running) cardio… but you have all the knee business going on. Not being able to run sucks but you wont lose much fitness in a month or however long you have to rest. Did the trainers give you any tips on what you can do to keep up your fitness? Sorry I’m not much help!
I haven’t had this problem but work as an exercise therapist in these rehab settings. I usually recommended low impact cardio for your fitness such as swimming, cycling (although make damn sure the seat is set properly), and maybe even some yoga. Even the crossfit may cause some aggrevation due to heavy lifting and heavy weights on supporting joints. Use your best judgement and don’t forget to rest it, these things often occur from overtraining. Good luck!
I had runner’s knee many years ago as a teenager, and can’t recollect much of it though I did go to PT. But, I did recently go through PT for another injury (not suffered while running, but it prevented me running for a bit). It was hard at first as I went from 45-50mpw to 0mpw, but I was able to use the elliptical and I did that, it was still a great workout. I actually still make sure to incorporate elliptical workouts as cross training to minimize risk of re-injury (and it seems to give me a nice butt ;)). I still kept up my weight training and such, as well as kayaking, biking, and any other low impact or upper body cardio.
You might want to ask your PT if you can do pool running since you are in training. That has been shown to really keep up your running fitness and I have not had time to look up the info but there are people who have continued their training for races this way. Anyway, I would just ask your PT what you can do. I DO recall when I did have runner’s knee it was considered (on me) a runnable injury. I could still run, as long as it was not painful, and I kept up certain strengthening exervises. I have had IT band issues in my hip too and again I was able to run (switching to barefoot running actually resolved this issue though).
I found physical therapy very helpful, not so much for the exercises as those I was doing anyway, but the understanding of what was going on, the treatments, and the support for getting back to running (I went to a VERY run-oriented clinic too, one of the physios there is/was very involved in the development of a running gait analysis at the clinic and so on up here). They also have a zero-gravity treadmill where those with injuries can still run but take off all weight and slowly increase it.
I used this plan to get back into running once I was good to go again (I did not have a stress fracture, but it still allowed me to ease back into it). When I did start again I had to be careful to not just go back to my old mileage right away as even though my cardio (and I!) was up for it I had to let my body adapt again to avoid injury again!:
PT is great! They’ll give you exercises & stretches to do after you recover as well to help prevent a flare up later on as well. *ETA- I love my foam roller and use it even when my hips & knees are feeling good & functioning well.
In the meantime- swimming, spin class or cycling, yoga, and weight lifting are awesome ways to maintain your fitness while you recover.
When you do start to run again, make sure you take it slowly & build a little at a time- ITB issues are often a result of overtraining (though I see yours was initiated by an acute injury).
I ran competitively for 8 years in high school and college. I had my fair share of injuries and I have learned two very important things about PT:
1. In order for PT to be effective for running injuries, it needs to treat the cause and not the symptoms. If the cause is treated then the symptoms will resolve themselves. This involves someone analyzing how your entire body moves and determining what caused the problem in the first place. Then, you have to do strengthening and stretching exercises to correct imbalances and misalignments.
2. You have to do your homework!!! It works a whole lot better and faster that way.
I struggled with a back injury for three years in college and went to so many providers before I found someone who could actually make it better. Of course massage felt good, but it wasn’t treating the cause. I finally went to a PT who practices Postural Restoration. I had to work more than I ever had with PT but it WORKED.
I haven’t had those specific knee injuries, but I have had knee issues in the past. On top of PT, I’d suggest swimming and yoga. Swimming will help keep your cardio up and your muscles loose. With yoga, focus on poses that target joints (hips, knees, back) and muscles to help maintain all-around flexibility.
I live on a hill and there’s no flat stretch within 3 miles of my house so I tend to get a bit stiff in my hips from all the hill work. I do this routine once or twice after each run and it really helps to keep my joints happy and flexible.
@DaneLady: Oh yes, I LOVE my foam roller. I am on that thing twice a day, and often just roll on it while watching tv or something. It’s awesome. I have a Trigger Point, so it is small and packable too (I just fill the empty middle with clothes!) for when I travel.
Thanks for all of the responses. I am glad I called around before making my PT apt because I got in with some who specializes in running.
So far when I have tried running the pain is back within a mile or so. So I have avoided it, even though it is so hard. I took to heart what the sports doctor said about core work and busted out my Jillian Michaels DVD and have been going to Pilates at the YMCA. My core muscles are very weak, so I wi definitely benefit. And I also registered for a 5 week spin class. So I am trying to keep up with my cardio fitness level and improve strength in other areas.
I know I will have to be careful when I can run again. I really don’t wan to derail my marathon plans. I hope I can bounce back into things quickly. I did get a foam roller, but I was going to wait until my appointment with the PT to have him show me how to use it.
Regarding your marathon, I have a few questions. When is it? Have you done any before? What is your half marathon PR? You can definitely keep up your fitness with other forms of cardio- spin, pool running, swimming, elliptical, and stairmaster- but a lot of it will depend on your level before the injury. Injuries suck, I totally understand!
PT is great. I know it’s helped me deal with my herniated disc in my lower back… have you considered swimming? you’ll get the same aerobic/endurance exercise that you do from running, and also you’ll get more flexibility and strength. it’s like one of the best form of training you can do. plus i think it will help you stay in shape for your marathon training once you’re able to start running again.
@RunnerBride13: I’m registered for the Buffalo Marathon on May 26. (17 weeks away). I have been running 40 miles per week until now and have completed two 20 mile runs in Dec. (One before I fell, and one after when I thought my knee was fine and had resumed my normal running schedule). My half marathon PR is 1:57 from October 2012. I averaged 9 minutes per mile for both of my 20 miles runs.
@mssmiley: I actually have access to a pool right now since DH and I got a membership at the YMCA for the winter. But I had so many ear infections as a kid that my swimming technique is not very good at all. I can stay afloat just fine, but I’ve never done much swimming. I suppose I should just get a pair of goggles and ear plugs and go for it though. There is only so many minutes I can stand the elliptical for.
@mrstilly: That’s great you have 4 months!! I bet you’ll be able to bounce back, it sounds like you had a pretty good base before the injury. Even if you had to take a month off, you would still have time to follow a 12-week plan. Look into pool running (with a flotation belt), it’s super boring and nerdy-looking, but it is really helpful in this kind of situation. Good luck!!
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