Sunday, November 11, 2007


Maybe because I've probably had about every running injury there is, when something starts twinging or worse yet hurting, an alarm goes off in my head. I try to figure out what it is I'm doing or doing wrong to stop whatever is going on. So when I started having just a little bit of knee instability, something I've actually not been plagued with very often, red flags went up.

For the most part, I blamed it on building up my mileage too fast for the half last month. But then I remembered I had done the same thing last spring for the 25k (yeah, I like to binge train) and didn't have the same thing going on then. That was far harder and a longer distance too.

So I've been putting up with this little knee lock-up thing going on, especially during long runs, where if I stop, my knee actually locks in a hyper extended position just for a second, but hurts until I take a step or two. Hard to explain. What was worse though was my knees were starting to hurt going down steps. Now I know it can be argued that my age has something to do with it, and I'm not totally disputing that, but I still had to wonder what was going on and have been very cautious about not making it worse.

Last week I started paying more attention to my stretching, something I do on a regular basis, but not always enthusiastically. I hurry through some basic stretches and only work on areas that bother me most, but this knee thing was baffling. One of the stretches I hadn't been doing though was the quadricep stretch. I had been neglecting at least the one leg since my ankle sprain because it hurt too much for me to grab my ankle, and there is actually just a little soreness there still, right where the ankle bends. So I've been lazy about that leg especially. But the other day, I finally decided to really stretch the quads. I was surprised at how tight they were, which wasn't surprising. A couple days of really stretching the quads and guess what? The knee thing is better!

I was looking on line at quad muscle info and a little blurb about tight quads may cause knee problems jumped out at me. Apparently, the article was right!

So stretch those quads, the calves, your hips, everything and see if some of your running ailments get better or disappear. And do those stretches correctly. The correct standing quad stretch is keeping your leg close to the body. Or you can do them laying on the floor on your side. And obviously, be careful not to overstretch and ease into any stretches where you have difficulty or pain. A little bit at a time. Go on line and look for the stretches also. There are a lot of sources out there. Some are easy enough to do without any instruction, but it never hurts to read up on any latest ideas.

See, you can teach an old dog new tricks!


See Zanne Run said...

ouch! it would lock & hyperextend?! oh my gosh that sounds painful. i hear you on the stretching though ... i always feel a difference when i'm really religious about it. i've noticed a definite difference now that i have stopped getting my regular massages. i think i need to step them up again as the training picks up again - the need for the regular work over has become painfully apparent! although i have been putting your tennis ball tip to good use lately! glad to hear you solved the knee problem & so quickly! you are on a roll girl!

Sunshine said...

Oh Vickie, thanks for sharing an interesting and helpful chapter of your running journey.
And I love the positive resolution of your pain. You go, Pink Lady.

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

That is another thing I like about going to the gym once or twice a week. I seem to find time to do all the stretching that I don't have time to do correctly every day when I run. It's funny how I have time for 1.5hrs or so to go run, but can't spare another 10mins or so to do the stretches that I need. Glad stretching is helping you out!!

Fe-lady said...

God I would be so incapacitated if I didn't stretch religiously! Hope you have solved the problem!

bill carter said...

You are totally right about stretching. It does make a huge difference both in terms of injury prevention and fixing a nagging problem. I guess the only reason stretching doesn't get more respect is that we all hate it. I would rather run than stretch any day... but I certainly feel better after a good stretch "workout" than when I run with tight muscles. Glad it worked for you.

E-Speed said...

I found out the same thing when I did ART therapy. It's nice when you can fix a problem by just stretching your quads!

I'm probably up for at least 8 on the 8th barring any injuries at JFK.