Running After Runner’s Knee

20 Aug


Well folks, the good news – I’m running again!  I just finished my second full week of running and I’m feeling pretty okay.  I can’t say great, but I also can’t say bad.  I’ll take it!  My knees still feel somewhat achy, but are not full on painful.  Additionally I’m taking it slow and being very patient with myself.  I feel like until my alignment is really 100% straightened out I will probably continue to have achy knees.

To recap, what I have done since my Runner’s Knee diagnosis.

  • Took roughly 2 months off from running
  • Worked to improve my hip strength and flexibility through targeted exercises and yoga.
  • Stayed away from high impact exercises like Zumba, Insanity, or Plyometrics.
  • Focused on strength training (for my whole body).
  • Slowly working back into running following a running program from my doctor.

So far, it seems to be working, albeit far too slowly for my liking.  I know it takes time to develop the strength to improve my alignment, and it requires diligence.  From my doctor, research, and personal experience – these are the things to keep in mind when returning to running after Runner’s Knee.

1. Take it slowly!  You will not be able to BOOM run exactly how you were running.  And that’s okay.  Be patient and let your body get back into the swing of thing.

2. Continue to work on the root cause.  In my case, my runner’s knee is caused by week outer thigh muscles.  This is causing my knee alignment to be a bit off.   I have continued to work on these muscles even after starting up running again.  The exercises that help most: balance exercises, squats, or leg raises to the side.  Essentially anything that gets a little burn going in the outer thigh.  This is the number one thing to actually fix and lead to a successful recovery.  If you don’t attack the root cause – it will likely not “just fix itself”.

3. Maintain (or gain) a strong core.  Strength training can be a huge tool for runners to build endurance and speed.  I’ve continued to lift weights to remain strong and durable for my runs.

4. Increase mileage slowly.  I’m taking this one to heart and very carefully (and slowly) increasing my distance.  The most I’ve gone so far is 3.5 miles, with this week getting up to 4.5.  I really want to allow my body the chance to acclimate to distances.  No knee freak-outs please.  :)

5. Stay positive.  For me this translates to continuing to do other activities like ChaLean Extreme or Yoga.  If my knees hit another road block, I don’t want to fall into a dark pit of despair.  My positivity is also allowing me to focus on carefully and mindfully train.  I don’t want to get too excited and do some damage!


Until I’m back at it 100%, I’ll just keep plugging away at my recovery plan.  My doctor assured me that Runner’s Knee is relatively minor and it is totally possible to fully recover.  But I want to know…do any of you have success stories recovering from Runner’s Knee?

Have a great Tuesday!


12 Responses to “Running After Runner’s Knee”

  1. Joey August 20, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Squats and lunges helped me build up my weak leg muscles and within a few weeks it went away for me. I also tried to avoid long downhills for a few weeks too. Downhills were where I felt it the most

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

      I’m happy to know there are success stories out there!! :) I’ve been doing squats and lunges as well, anything to build up my muscles. It’s not perfect yet, but hoping I’ll have a success story like yours!

  2. runningtoherdreams August 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I am so happy you are running again! It is so difficult to not be able to and staying positive is definitely a must! :-)

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 21, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Ditto!! It is so nice, even if it’s slow – it just makes me feel so content to be able to try. Worth all those weeks off :)

  3. Change of Pace August 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Glad to hear you are running again! Coming back from injury can be SO frustrating, but it sounds like you are doing everything right- namely being PATIENT!
    Great tips- especially #2.
    Happy running!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 21, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks so much! And I SO agree, injuries are the worst. Though they do make you really appreciate running when you get back at it. :) And you’re right…patience is key. Even though I’m running now, I continue to remind myself to continue to have patience with pace and pushing myself.

  4. rebacox August 21, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I have had some tightness on the front of my knee cap for weeks, my PT gal said it was because the muscles in my legs were so tight. Where was your pain at?

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 21, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      Hmm it’s possible, I think tight hamstrings can definitely contribute (I have those too!). My pain originally was sort of “under” my kneecap. It was hard to describe but it was definitely squarely my knee cap. I hope that helps!

  5. Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures August 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    I must tell you, girl, that I love your outlook toward running throughout this entire deal. I know injuries are such a bummer but you’ve done an incredibly graceful job handling it and also creating new ways to workout out since running is in a hiatus (well, not anymore!). YAY for running again, and doing it smartly!!! I love it! I absolutely think that strength training of any sort is crucial to long distance running because it makes you stronger which I believe leads to less chance of injury… That’s just my opinion! :) I don’t have a recovery story about runner’s knee but I did take about 2 months off from running after my marathon because my IT band was feeling way too funky for my liking. It is what it is, right?

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 23, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks lady! That is so sweet! I’m doing the best I can, it’s hard though! But you’re right – doing all this strength training will hopefully lead to less injury (and more recovery!). I feel for you on your IT issue – I’ve had friends with that… no fun. It seems to be the reality of distance running, injury is just part of it!

  6. LORELEI February 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Your Page is keeping me possitive. I was diagnosed maybe a year ago and also am prior active duty and now a dependent. I work as a contractor do not have the luxuery of attending phsysical therapy for our Company is always being bought. So i have no leave time. i have stretched alot and gone on you tube to see what stretches are prefered. Now I really think i’ve messed something up now their is crackng with out my knee strap and less when i have it on. If you have any tips. Please help. Thank you.


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