How do you stay active with knee pain?
Your knee starts to hurt but not enough to really stop you doing anything so you crack on with things. Then the pain gradually gets worse until you have to stop.
What can you do about it?
The first thing is don’t stop altogether. Complete rest is pointless unless there is a serious injury so you can do something.
Start by reducing the amount you do. You are looking to be able to work at a level where the pain doesn’t go above a 3/10, 10 being take me to a hospital NOW!! The pain shouldn’t be present for most of the session but really only towards the end.
Once you’ve stopped it should quickly subside and there shouldn’t be any problems in the following 24-48 hours.
Ankle Range Of Movement
You should address any ankle mobility issues you might have. A reduced range of movement in the ankle will have a big impact on your knee.
A quick and easy test of your ankle range of movement is the knee to wall test.
Simply place a ruler or tape measure next to a wall and place your foot beside it. Now push your knee out over towards the little toe until it touches the knee. Move back until you can’t touch the wall.
You need 10cm in this test for a clean bill of health.
Now the body is robust and you can cope with less but if we want to have any wiggle room then this is the minimum standard.
1.Because to properly engage the posterior chain you need to be able to get the knee over the foot.
2. If the tibia remains fairly vertical we place a lot more stress on the quads, think running down hill.
Not getting knee pain in the first place.
More often than not knee pain is an overuse issue. Yes, there may be underlying issues that would be better getting dealt with but the body is pretty robust.
So I appreciate I talked about too much rest in the first one but here I’m talking about what you do in training.
Training load is the biggest factor in any injury.
Trying to do too much for too long, too much too soon will both end up the same way. WIth an injury.
We need to appreciate that we are not professional athletes and temper our training accordingly. Lets take a look at elite runners. Elite runners are routinely cranking out 100+ miles a week plus strength training and other bits and pieces. What you need to remember though is that running is their job. That they have everything with regards to recovery taken care of for them. Be it regular massage to help them relax, their food prepared for them or physio the minute there is an inkling of an injury.
The volume of running required to run well for a recreational runner is a lot lower than you might imagine, especially in comparison to the elite runner’s 100+ miles a week. Anything from ⅓ to ½ of their milage would be suitable depending on performance level and goals.
This applies to every other type of activity. When you have a full-time job and a family you need to think in terms of minimum effective dose rather than maximum effective dose.