/ Should I give up running?
My problem is in that 4 years I have already had two 6-10 month breaks from running due to injuries to my right knee. The leg is a bit dodgy already from an achilles operation I had about 10 years ago. Today I have sustained another injury to the same knee (outside of knee, ITB I think) while running on flat trails. In the past I've found that fell running seems to cause less injuries, but I'm in Melbourne until December and there are no fells here. I feel like every time I get up to running a decent distance, I get another injury. It's highly frustrating because it's never my muscles or breathing that limits my running, it's always my knees.
I'll go to the physio this week, but obviously I've tried physio, podiatrist etc before and I'm still getting injured. My question is, has anyone else had similar experiences with running injuries and managed to get over them and run injury free for long periods? Or are some people just unsuited to distance running and likely to get injury after injury? Any advice/experiences appreciated.
Its almost impossible to answer this as only you know your own body. I have been running for the best part of 30ys with no major injuries but some long term "niggles". When does a "niggle" become a problem? Only you know.
That said., I don't think I'd give up, I'd just adjust.
Obviously whether such an approach would work for you I don't know, but the principles of 'mixing it up' and working actively to avoid injuries (as opposed to fixing them when they happen) may be worth trying. It's not a quick fix, but long term worth it if you love running. Things like ITB are definitely avoidable. Good luck.
You might find it instructive to go a bit further afield than a physio. I'm going through something similar, but with my left calf, rather than my knees. I've done much as you've done - physio, podiatrist, foam roller, massage and so on, and things gets fixed up to a point and then it goes wrong again.
Last week I went to a sport doctor, who has suggested that the real problem is not with my calf but with my pelvis, which is misaligned, and this is causing uneven distribution of forces through my legs. So, there's a course of treatment to be undergone to realign the pelvis. The jury is still out - I haven't had the treatment, so I don't know if it's actually going to sort things out - but I'm certainly willing to believe that the root of the problems lies somewhere other than where the pain is.
If you can find a decent sports doctor, you might find it a useful exercise. It might be a bit more expensive than a trip to a physio or massage therapist, but as a running friend of mine pointed out, it's less than we'd spend on a pair of running shoes.
So you need to be able to recognise the difference between an injury and normal aches and pains. Please note that I'm not suggestion you don't know the difference but I have found that many new runners stop at the first sign of ANY discomfort. Its a tough one because it is quite subjective.
When I first started running I was training to join the army. I started to get pain on the outside of my knees and went to see the doctor who promptly told me to stop running. I ignored him, changed the way i was running (oddly I found that it was linked to the camber on the road so if I swapped sides it fixed the problem) and went on to do basic training, P company and then 9 yrs of running in boots with a heavy pack to no ill effect.
BUT, I'm very light and built for running. Many of my old army mates have knees that are f**ked.
re the comments about posture being at the root of your troubles. Have you looked at the soles of your shoes and if so is one worn differently to the other. I think you said you'd seen a podiatrist but it might give you a clue.
pelvis is often a cause of problems in other areas, out of interest have you ever had any issues with your shoulders ?
I'd recommend you rest and get advice from a suitable specialist. Then focus on some strength training. Get out and walk in the hills wearingminimal soles and do some short sprint (building up slowly), on grass, focusing on technique. But if you feel pain then stop doing whatever is causing the pain!
I used to have knee pain running, don't any more. Several things changed at around the time it went away: minimal shoes/forefoot technique (apparently less force through the knee), started climbing (strengthens the joint without impact) and started swimming less breaststroke (it's just plain bad for the knees). Can't say what solved the problem, but that's not what you were asking for anyway...
Problem is, now I feel like I'm in a similar position to what you describe, but with everything other than the knees. It's just this summer really, but I've been trying to increase the mileage and been met with a couple of bouts of shin pain and now a sore Achilles tendon. I haven't been able to run enough to feel like the muscular endurance or aerobic fitness is holding me back for ages! I'm going to keep at it, rest when required and try to increase the load even more slowly next time (take 4, I think). If you enjoy running, you'll find a way :)
I'll add my voice to the "don't run through knee pain" camp. Some kinds of pain are fine, but not the knees.
> You might find it instructive to go a bit further afield than a physio. I'm going through something similar, but with my left calf, rather than my knees. I've done much as you've done - physio, podiatrist, foam roller, massage and so on, and things gets fixed up to a point and then it goes wrong again.
> Last week I went to a sport doctor, who has suggested that the real problem is not with my calf but with my pelvis, which is misaligned, and this is causing uneven distribution of forces through my legs. So, there's a course of treatment to be undergone to realign the pelvis. The jury is still out - I haven't had the treatment, so I don't know if it's actually going to sort things out - but I'm certainly willing to believe that the root of the problems lies somewhere other than where the pain is.
I had a friend with a similar experience. Couldn't run for two years then went to a posture specialist recently who helped sort out some issues with her hip and is running again.
See, I've re-read all of the previous posts and can't find a single one that suggests that he ignore pain or persist with an injury.
I have been to Melbourne and there is a good running scene there and also some good sports doctors and people who can work with you to find out exactly what is going on. I would go this route - changing one simple thing can make a huge difference. I would also become rather cynical - not all sports podiatrists are at all equal.
For a start how much do you weigh, how tall, 10k pb, how many miles, what shoes
However , ten years ago , I had no problems , and consequently could run further for longer , now I have to adjust because of my age , but , there's no reason to give it up , just adapt !
> pelvis is often a cause of problems in other areas, out of interest have you ever had any issues with your shoulders ?
No, but I don't do much upper-body stuff, so the fact that I don't notice any shoulder problems doesn't mean there aren't underlying issues.
Another angle on this. Don't concentrate on mileage but quality training runs. Not sure what you do now of course. I trained for a 50 miler almost exclusively on lunch time running (10km) and track sessions, with the cycle commute thrown in. Got a PB way beyond my previous years of longer mileage and without the niggles. Changed the way I think about training now.
In terms of pb's I couldn't tell you as I have concentrated on doing long slow runs, gradually building up time (not distance) trying to increase endurance, perhaps this is a factor, though I do short runs as well, just very rarely try to run at 'race pace'.
It causes an unnatural gait.. and many believe that IT issues actually arise during such a gait.
Steady running is good.. but make sure its still your normal natural gait.. stride length etc..
As a rough guide 1 minute off half marathon pace should be fine.. maybe even a bit more..
In reply to others: Saw a really good physio today. A couple of biomechanical issues arising from my previous right achilles operation were identified. Got exercises to improve calf strength and speed and going back next week. Long term she says she is fairly sure she can get me running 4x per week up to 10km each, but long distances are an unknown at the moment until we see what the limits of my right calf are. Fair enough I think, so I'm going to give it a go and see where my limits are over the next few months.
Thanks all for your replies.
sounds expensive ! I agree with posters who suggest mixing with or even changing to other sports - walking, cycling, swimming, surfing ? etc
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