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Patellofemoral pain - both knees

4 watchers
Mar 2012
9:13pm, 1 Mar 2012
64 posts
  • 0
Krissie
Has anyone ever experienced knee pain, where both sides are pretty much equally affected? It started off about 3 months ago on the left side only, pain behind the kneecap from time to time, then started behind the right kneecap. The pain was straight after running but not during. By January I was getting a sense of fullness and stiffness in the whole knee area, particularly behind the kneecap and at the very top of the kneecap between the kneecap and the the quad, with the pain being at it's worse when sitting bent legged at work all day and going downstairs. I cut back on training and saw a phsyio who said it was patellafemoral, and that as both sides were affected it was a biomechanical issue, and that I had very weak glutes, tight hip flxors, and quads and VMO's could benefit from being stronger too. She said that I could still run sensibly, and should increase the resitance when I cycle to build leg strength, in addition to a strenghening and stretching programme. I've done my homework religiously but the pain behind both kneecaps has continued to increase and I can feel a creaking most of the time in my knees.

I have tried the cycling as suggested, which causes some pain behind the kneecap during, but not too much when I stop. I tried my first jog this morning for 2 weeks, and expereinced no pain when running but sharp stabbing pains behind both kneecaps the second I stopped and then the familiar stiffness and fullness within few minutes and sharp pain for the rest of the day. Swimming with straight leg kicks hurts. Oddly I still have a really good range of movement such as being able to squat down and sit cross legged without any pain, but then to sit on the sofa or a chair for more than 10 minutes is really painful, stiff and uncomfortable.

I don't understand why it continues to get worse and have an appointment to go back and see the physio next week, but has anyone experienced similar and recovered? If so what approach worked, complete rest particular activities only?

Very frustrated right now :-(
Mar 2012
4:14pm, 5 Mar 2012
1268 posts
  • 0
Paul Snell
Hello again! I had much unhappiness from my right knee, similar to yours. Two things worked for me - taking shorter strides and running (a bit) barefoot. Taking longer strides is much harder on the knees. To reduce the stride length, count your steps (one foot only) for 20s. If its in the low 20's try to take more steps until it's 28-30. That works out at about 175-180 steps per minute (both feet). It's a lot but your knees will stop hurting. For the barefoot running I ran short stretches on grass, between 50m and 1km. If your foot landing is evil, this will fix it fast. I also changed from a supportive trainer to a racing flat. Good luck!
Mar 2012
4:48pm, 5 Mar 2012
624 posts
  • 0
Ian M
Hi Krissie,

I'd need to see you run to confirm my suspicions but I'd hazard a guess at no so much a biomechanical issue as a running form one.

Paul has already suggested that maybe you should look into shortening your stride.

I'd suggest looking at your overall posture, learn how to fall from the hips, not push off too aggressively and try not to land too far in front of yourself with your foot in front of the knee because this is a notorious cause of the knee pain you describe.

The reason is that you may be taking the shock of landing through your knees rather than keeping a soft knee which acts as a good shock absorber. A bit more complicated than that but it'd take yonks to fully describe and I already detect folks eyes rolling and the yawns starting. :-)
Mar 2012
8:47pm, 5 Mar 2012
66 posts
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Krissie
I agree that that running form issues are at play, as over the last couple of years I have had so many problems (knee surgery 2010, then no problems for a year, then plantar fascitis, siatica and now this double knee pain!) The thing that I am finding frustrating is that since the first knee surgery I have made such an effort to correct my form including running in vibram five fingers on occasions (can't do it too often as my calves take ages to recover!), yet I still seem to getting it wrong obviously as keep getting problems :-( However I have seen a slight improvement this week, less creaking and stiffness and the pain in the back of the knees has pretty much gone since doing not only loads of the leg strengthening but starting a pilates class recently and keeping up the exercises during the week to improve my overall posture.
Mar 2012
10:35am, 6 Mar 2012
1269 posts
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Paul Snell
Krissie barefoot means just that - you need to feel that you are heel striking, skidding in, stamping, kicking the ground, twisting - that's why your feet have more nerves than your face. Take your shoes with you to the park and practice without them. I know I am not a load of shoe companies with big adverts in every magazine, but barefoot is not a shoe! Running is a natural activity and your naked feet will tell you when you are doing it right
Mar 2012
4:14pm, 6 Mar 2012
631 posts
  • 0
Ian M
Krissie, it isn't the shoes that make you run better, it's you.

Calf pain is a sign of running with tension or trying to run on your forefoot rather than just letting yourself land in a relaxed manner.

Barefoot running helps a lot of people BUT there are some who still run with bad form barefoot. When you understand what you need to do you will be surprised at how simple it really is and possibly how difficult it can be to do something that is so simple!
Mar 2012
7:42pm, 6 Mar 2012
68 posts
  • 0
Krissie
Good run in VFF's this morning concentrating on everything I knew I should be focusing on, whilst also not trying to focus too much but relaxing, if you know what I mean ;-) Calves much better than usual after wearing them. Feet were freezing by the end though! :-)

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Has anyone ever experienced knee pain, where both sides are pretty much equally affected? It started...
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