One of the most common injuries to our bodies occur with the overuse of our knees. While knee pain and symptoms can be generalized, very specific actions cause the acute phase of the injury and a poor understanding about our body mechanics make the knee pain a chronic issue. Over the past year, knee pain and tendonitis have caused much frustration as every treatment used would result in a flair up. With persistence and an accurate understanding of the injury, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
The acute phase of the knee pain started with minor discomfort and the belief that I "tweaked" my joint. As we were taught, I R.I.C.E. the injury - rest, iced, compressed, elevated. I also took anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen. I was extremely active at that point, with around 2-3 miles of daily road running along with weight lifting. I got back onto my biking regimen and was doing well when the knee pain started. I waited several weeks before getting back to my old active life and I was surprised and disappointed with my first run.
I started running again and everything seemed good until about a quarter mile into my run. At that point, the severe knee pain came back, but was very crippling and excruciating. I stopped my run and the pain dramatically decreased. Figuring the pain was gone, I started my run and the pain instantly came rushing back. I rested and iced and went back on ibuprofen. This process went on for several cycles and I would stop my routine with the same type of pain. After long deliberation, I decided it was time to get professional medical help.
The doctor visit could not come up with a definitive cause of my knee pain. The MRI was negative and so were the X-rays. New anti-inflammatory medications were prescribed, but did not stop the pain whenever I ran. Steroids were not a good option due to my young age and the risk of not just rupturing my tendon, but causing osteoporosis that could result in fractures. Physical therapy was offered as an option, and leg strengthening workouts advised.
The leg strengthening workouts revolved around my muscle groups. Quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles were lightly worked out. I started wearing a jumper's band brace, which helped alleviate some of the pain, but still had its limitations. I could run outdoors, albeit up to a mile at a limited pace. Further research landed me to analyze my running form.
I was able to record my gait on video. Through analysis from a running expert, I realized the cause of my problems. My hips were too weak, causing a poor running gait. This in turn caused an over-pronation of my legs that resulted in unnecessary stress placed upon my knees. To correct this problem, I started hip strengthening exercises that worked to abduct and adduct my flexors using the Strength strap for stretching. It also allowed me to gradually build strength and power in my hip flexors. As a result, I have been pain free and I noticed that I am faster and jump higher. The workouts are also good ways to increase your vertical. My explosion and endurance from a standing jump are more sustainable. I also feel a lot more stable in my movements. I've been on this regimen for only a month, but I have been able to run 3 miles outdoors in Los Angeles.
Although the path to recovery is a long one, I finally have positive results. For those who are needlessly suffering unspecified knee pain, this article is meant to provide a secondary opinion. I am not a medical professional, so always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise or medications. Good luck and all the best in discovering new life after knee pain