Hi all. I wanted to share my knee pain story, so that it may help folks that experience the same thing.
I'm basically a newbie to distance running training and I started experiencing mild knee pain, underneath my knee cap at around week 9 of the Cool Impossible training program. I iced. I used NSAIDs. It worked alright and I would notice it flaring up probably once a week.
Then, I got to week 12 and it really started barking. I decided to take a one week break. Painful again. More ice and NSAIDs. One more week break. Still painful. I decided to take two weeks off and just focus on the strength portion of the training. Then, after a good work out, I went to see a movie and the knee was barking up a storm. I finally broke down and made an appoint with the Sports Medicine Clinic. Throughout the injury, I was pretty bummed out and told myself all sorts of stories. I was too old to try to do this (I'm 38). My form was bad and that caused the problem. I was never going to be able to achieve my goal. If it was negative, I thought it. Injuries can just do that to you, well, at least me.
Well, finally I went in to see the doc at the University of Minnesota's Sports Medicine clinic. He had a med student working with him, so the appointment was extra informative, because he explained everything he did as he was checking out my knee. Finally, after checking all of the ligaments, he moved my knee around and got his fingers under the patella and found that spot that had been barking.
Patella-femoral syndrome. That's the diagnosis. He said that the usual cause is training error, a great term. The first question he asked me was if I was a treadmill or road runner. I said road and he said he expected that because the pain was only on one side. Then he asked if I always ran on the left side of the road. And I said, yes. He said this was the likely culprit, because your knee is always fighting the slight slant. Such an obvious issue, but I totally missed it. Now, I'm down to 2 mile runs for a while with a knee brace, but so far so good. The lunges from the strength program are out, And I have to put in a little PT work as well.
To sum it all up, if the pain is coming from under your kneecap, it could very likely be this issue. Make sure you're varying the slant of the ground your on-- another great reason to run trails. And don't be afraid to see a doctor. I could have saved a few weeks of no running had I gone in earlier. And, remember that injuries can affect your mental health too if you let them.
Can't wait to see you all out there on the roads and trails.