When Injury Strikes

Great start to 2019. It’s probably the best I have felt coming out of Christmas into the new year. I didn’t have the extra weight from over eating and my fitness levels were good. I was setting some nice Strava segment PBs, which is always a nice motivator and I’d ticked off one of my new year’s resolution and joined my first ever running club.

You can probably sense a “but” coming and you’d be right. After a tough hill session on the trails of West Yorkshire, the next day I had a sore right knee. I rested it for 2 days and then did a recovery 5 mile run on the treadmill. There was still a dull pain but it wasn’t too worrying as I could keep going with a minimal discomfort.

I did 4 more runs that week, sometime the pain was there and other time is would just disappear. So, I turned too Google. After a quick search I quickly found that I had all the symptoms of Runners Knee.

I’d never hear of Runners Knee before but it seems to be a popular little injury in the running world. The official term is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

Causes of Runners Knee:

  • Overuse. Bending your knee again and again or doing a lot of high-stress exercises, like lunges and plyometrics (training that uses the way your muscles lengthen and shorten to boost their power), can irritate tissues in and around your kneecap.
  • A direct hit to the knee, like from a fall or blow
  • Your bones aren’t lined up (your doctor will call this malalignment). If any of the bones from your hips to your ankles are out of their correct position, including the kneecap, that can put too much pressure on certain spots. Then your kneecap won’t move smoothly through its groove, which can cause pain.
  • Problems with your feet, like hypermobile feet (when the joints in and around them move more than they should), fallen arches (flat feet), or overpronation (which means your foot rolls down and inward when you step). These often change the way you walk, which can lead to knee pain.
  • Weak or unbalanced thigh muscles. The quadriceps, those big muscles in the front of your thigh, keep your kneecap in place when you bend or stretch the joint. If they’re weak or tight, your kneecap may not stay in the right spot.
  • Chondromalacia patella, a condition in which the cartilage under your kneecap breaks down

So, I would put my injury down to overuse after not running a lot in December and then feeling so good in January I probably increased the miles too fast. Also, I have had tight hamstrings and quads. So a combination of both these factors has resulted in an early break to my ultra-training.

What now?

Injuries happen, it’s the unfortunate side of training and pushing yourself to achieve your goals. I have had a few injuries over the years, but this is my first running related injury. Playing football or squash is normally the route cause.

Because it’s early stages of my training plan, it’s not panic station yet. So I have taken the decision to rest for a full week, get some physio and learn what I can do to prevent this or another injury that could be more untimely.

Rather than get down about not been able to run, I’m turning this negative into a positive. The incident has highlighted areas for improvement. I need to introduce specific strength training and stretches that focus on areas I know that I now need extra attention

I will now start to include more targeted strength training to build up my quads to add stability to the knee. I have also done some research on how best to stretch the outer hip and gluts to give myself the best chance of recovery and to not get a recurring injury.

Fingers crossed that the next I post I’m running free.

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