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"Runner's Knee"


XR6Hurricane
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Just wondering if any of you have dealt with this particular problem and what the outcome has been. My left knee has been giving me some symptoms for a couple of years on and off, mostly toward the end of each summer, but has gotten gradually worse and more frequent. It feels like it's hanging up, like it wants to snap but won't, and occasionally gives out on me. When it gives out there is no pain, but when it hangs up there is some "catching" and tired aching. It is not constant. Being 130 lbs and having never played any rough sports of any kind, I was both baffled and P.O.'d, so I finally went to a knee and hip specialist. His assessment after some x-rays and an examination is that everything is strong and there is no obvious damage, but it is what they call "runner's knee". Basically a misalignment of the kneecap caused by the little muscles and ligaments not building evenly. It is generally a result of being physically active and just kind of happens sometimes. I just got done hiking about 24 miles in Utah and I hiked again last weekend, so go figure. He said usually it can be solved non-surgically. So, he's saying eight therapy sessions over four weeks and follow up with him when it's done. He doesn't think there is any reason to be concerned about skiing. Anyone else been there and done that with this problem?
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I have had 7 knee surgeries. four of them were loose body removal. Through x rays nothing was found on a couple of them, but once they went in they found pieces of cartlidge or something that would float around causing the pain or the locking sensation. Good thing about those surgeries is that recovery is pretty quick
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  • Baller

what @6balls said, a good physio therapist will get you back on track.

I got diagnosed with runners knee some years ago and from what I recall had a lot of streching excerises to remedy.

Never had this partcular knee problem coming back ever since.

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@xr6hurricane. My girl friend has that. I went to the Doc with her. He was saying it was the most common problem he sees. He was saying setting a lot would aggravate it. He had her getting up out of her chair and stretch regularly during the day. Its helped a lot. Her's was only pain though. No locking or giving out.
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Probably 90% of us on this site have had knee issues. My right knee had ACL reconstruction in 1988. It is pretty good. Left knee I blew the MCL and partially tore the ACL about 15 years ago. About 6 years ago it started locking. Like I'd wake up with my leg bent and I couldn't straighten it. Surgery cleaned it out, but I still have persistent pain just under the kneecap near the patellar tendon. Decided to give my PT a shot at it. Saw him on Monday and he worked it over pretty hard. Today it is already much better. He figures 3 appointments and we should have it whipped. I trust him because he has worked on me after every one of my surgeries (7 orthopedic) and through my ruptured disc in my lower back. Better than another surgery!
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@gregy - Interesting what you said about sitting aggravating it. I work in purchasing/inventory and sit in a cubicle all day. Plus an hour in the truck each way. I've had a little trouble with tingling in the leg too, probably a pinched nerve from sitting, and the doc said the knee is probably related to it.

 

@scotchipman - I'm left foot forward and have a single boot with RTP. I'm planning on a new ski next season and will probably go with double boots. I'm not sure which is worse for injury during falls though - having the same resistance on both legs when you get yanked out of them, or getting twisted out of the front boot with your rear leg flapping around?

 

I'm just hoping the physical therapy helps and I appreciate the words of encouragement. Some people seem to think it's a waste of time and money, but if it's giving out on me and I've got discomfort, I can't see not giving it a try. The right knee has flared up a bit too, so I'm thinking that the diagnosis is probably right and it's not something more serious.

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Google McConnell taping. This can help as a temporary crutch to keep you doing what you want. The "cure" is strengthening the imbalanced muscles. For runners, it is typically too much hamstring strength and too little glute strength or several minor muscles as referenced above. Elastic band exercise and specific stretches will help to alleviate the problem. Since you do not run, going to a PT will help to indicate which muscles you may need to target.

 

I constantly have to manage patella tendon inflammation from running.

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I no this may sounds to easy but have you tried Glucosamine/ Chondroitin. 13 years ago I could not sit for more than 1 hour without both knees locking up (skiing didnt bother them). My doc suggested to try the glucosamine and give it 1 month before giving up. Well 1 month and wow what a difference now 13 years later I still take 300 milg per day. Its just a protine for the fluids in your joints. Worth the try...for anyone its over the counter and sold under atleast 1 million name!
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I've found the cheapest is the best Glucosamine bought at our local drug store in large quanity and cheap as possible. The expensive stuff made no diff to me. I bet most is very similar in make up just a new catchy name to lurer you in on hype.

 

Steve I just finished a test and stopped takeing it for 3 months. Just as I figured the joint pains started to comeback although not as bad. Most noticable getting up in the morning excpecially after a work out...sore! Not worth it im popping 2 per day now to get back to the normal and comfortable feeling I use to have.

 

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Thanks again for all of the input guys. I may give the glucosamine a try, but want to also give the therapy a shot. I hiked yesterday about 3.75 miles and had just mild symptoms during and afterward. Just mowed the lawn (push mower), came in for lunch, stood up from the table and the left knee had the catch in it. Therapy starts 6:30 AM tomorrow before work, yippee....
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i had knee surgery for this very thing. my doctor took out the damaged cartilage and then corrected the position of my kneecap so that stress on my knee would be distributed evenly. it has been several years, and with daily stretching, i have had no lasting symptoms.
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Are you running in addition to skiing, or are you only hiking? Overuse is something I've dealt with for years while trying to run higher mileages during ski season. Just this year I changed my regimen by laying off the mileage during ski season and supplementing that with rowing and shorter but faster runs (think 1mile all out). I had ZERO knee issues this year as a result. I will add that the rowing regimen combined with lots of off season pull-ups really helped prepare my elbows for the season and subsequently eliminated the tendinitis I have experienced the past few seasons from skiing.
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I don't run and never have except when they made us do it in gym class. But I am very physically fit. I walk as often as I can and do some light weight lifting and elliptical machine too. I am definitely planning some off season activity since doing so last year helped me get back into skiing shape quicker this past spring. Thanks for the tip on the pull-ups, will have to give that a try.
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Will have to ask the therapist about that. Had my second session yesterday. From what I understand, supposedly there's nothing actually wrong with the knee per se. It's a tightening of the IT band on the outside and underdeveloped inner teardrop muscles, which are causing the kneecap to not track right.

 

The problem right now is that the stretching in therapy is flaring up a chronic muscle strain that I've had on and off in the right groin area for years. Half a dozen doctors haven't been able to find a hernia. I had a hernia fixed on the left side in '98 and the recovery was so horrendous that I'd have to think twice about having another one fixed. When I say horrendous, I'm talking years instead of weeks. After some research on my symptoms, I've concluded that the right side is likely a "sports" hernia, which many doctors have never heard of and only a couple of doctors even fix. I'm also somewhat suspicious of the right hip being the root cause. Things feel like they get out of line there occasionally and I've had times when I bend over to tie my shoe and feel like something is in there taking up the space and not allowing me to bend over. Thing is, when that happens there is zero pain.

 

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Just wanted to bring this back up and say thanks for everyone's input. I've done 8 physical therapy sessions and have 4 more. Did a follow up with the doctor today and based on my progress so far he seems to think that I should be okay with the 4 remaining sessions, a couple more months of exercises on my own 3-4 times per week, and gradually working my way up to the activity I was at. So, just in time for the thaw...
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