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TOPIC: 5K Training for Bad Knees

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March 14, 2011 10:56 AM
5 years ago I had my ACL reconstructed along with meniscous repaired in my left knee. I hadn't exercised since.

Fast forward to June 2010. I have had one child and am now 25 pounds overweight. I decide to finally start doing something about it. I have lost all but the last 5 pounds and feel great! A friend recently suggested that we start running together and run two 5K's this summer. This past weekend, we met and ran one mile. I felt fine at the time, but my knee was so incredibly sore the next day.

Has anyone else been able to run after a major knee surgery? Any suggestions as to how to do this without hurting myself?
March 14, 2011 10:59 AM
interested to see people's responses. Though I've never had knee surgery... I have bad knees... don't have enough muscle around my knee caps :(
March 14, 2011 10:59 AM
Why don't you talk to your doctor and see if he can recommend stretch and strengthening exercises for you? I'd also ask if they can recommend a brace for you to help prevent you from reinjuring the knee.
March 14, 2011 10:59 AM
This is something that you should talk to a doctor or physical therapist about. They can give you exercises, stretches and advice on how to run safely.
March 14, 2011 11:02 AM
I have bad knees... and I had surgery on one of them about 12 years ago so I'm very interested in seeing the responses. Not sure if you would call it a major surgery but they had to grind down my kneecap and clip down all the rugged tendons and whatnot (not really sure what all was done since I was 14 at the time and didn't care much, I just wanted the pain to go away)

Only suggestion I have is to start slow and build yourself up to full on running. Let your knee regain its strength back. I still get bad pain from some workouts (and of course any time it gets humid or rainy my knees will ache all day... so awful)
March 14, 2011 11:02 AM
When I had issues with my knees while running, my PT said I needed to strengthen the muscles around the knee; especially the hamstrings, and inner and outer thigh. Women also need to pay special attention to the iliotibial band (the tendon that connects the inner knee to the outer hip) - lots of stretching for that.

You may need to baby the knee - wrap it or get a support, and work into running slowly. Consider doing a C25K program - you only run for a few minutes at a time, so your muscles and joints can ease into things. Ice any sore spots after you run, too.
March 14, 2011 11:04 AM
I should add that you can find strengthening exercises and stretches at :)

I cannot emphasize the stretching enough - it is so important!
March 14, 2011 11:06 AM
I have been diagnosed with advanced ostioarthritis in my knees. One in particular is quite bad as I've had surgery to strip the majority of the ripped cartlidge out of it. My doctor told me to try to avoid impact exercise, like running as a result.

The biggest thing I have learned in my health journey is to do the exercise that you love or you will not stick to it. I happen to love running, in fact, that is what injured my knee in the first place as a teenager. I have started the C25K program in the last few weeks. Because my knees do hurt I will only run every 2nd day, ice afterwards, and take some Advil to further reduce the swelling and pain.

I have done every week twice as well to REALLY slowly get into it. My treadmill has a pretty decent "cushy" platform so this helps as well in addition to LOTS of warmup and stretching before and after EVERY run.

Truthfully the best thing for bad knees is weight bearing exercise and every week I've completed of the C25K my knees do not feel as bad as the previous week so I choose to just work through it.
March 14, 2011 11:06 AM
I'm not an expert, but my first recommendation would be ice. You definitely need to ease into running after a long lay-off; running with a friend is great for the support but if you are going at his or her pace you could be overexerting early.

A few times during my years of not running, I had the thought, "I'm going to start running again" and then I would go run seven or eight miles. I felt great, was pumped up for this newfound spirit and exercise, and was very excited to counteract the college binge drinking. But the next day I would wake up uncomfortable and sore and so obviously those are the memories I took from running...and stopped for a long while before the next time I thought about doing a ten miler.

When I (actually) started running again regularly, I've eased myself back into the swing of things. I would ice my ankles and feet after the runs (my knees aren't the problem but my Achilles tendon was troublesome) and would make sure I stretched. I drank a lot of water to counteract the lactic acid buildup from time off from working out. I taped my feet when I started getting blisters so those had time to heal and callous. Basically, I did everything right and at my own pace.

Now I am at the point where I can do five+ miles straight and I really don't ice anymore. I do still tape my feet and obviously push a lot of water. But my biggest suggestions would be to go slower than what you think your own pace is at the beginning and ice a lot.

Since 23 January, I am down to 193 (down 28 pounds)* and I don't plan to let soreness stop me. But I will do everything to counteract the soreness, etc.

* male, 6'2"
March 14, 2011 11:08 AM to your doctor...because every knee issue is different

My issue was that I did not have enough strength in the one side of my thigh, so it would allow my knee cap to move too much and it did not "track" correctly...sent me to physical therapy thing I use...and I am not a this is my opinion...I take a supplement with Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM in it...not sure if it really works or if it is mental...but I am able to jog and not have pain after...still need to be careful with my left knee and make sure I keep my leg steady...but I am JOGGING 3 times a week (I choose to rest it one day in between jogging)
March 14, 2011 11:09 AM
Talking to the doctor is key here, they can recommend some PT and then you will have good strengthening exercises to do. You may even remember some of them from getting PT after surgery. I have bad knees–from years of being a track runner. Also, if you have bad knees cross training is really important. Don't make running your "only" form of exercise. I swim, bike, elliptical and run. Also, if you do re-injure yourself, take time off! This is the hardest for me. I hurt my knee a few weeks ago and have not been able to do any cardio work for 3 weeks. It stinks but you have to rest it.
March 14, 2011 11:10 AM
knee problems running are rarely knees !

suggestions -

1. build up SLOWLY - follow the couch to 5K program - while not far in the grand scheme of things - 0 - 1 mile is quite a jump

2. get fitted for the right running shoes - I run long distances - 1 mile in the wrong shoes and everything is in pain

3. warm up before running - stretch - especially your IT band after

and yes - check with your doctor that running is ok
March 14, 2011 11:18 AM
Definitely build SLOWLY if 1 mile was too much, start at 1/2 or less and build up to 10% increase each week. I do love C25k.
I would also say with any exercise you should ice it as soon as you're done. Great ideas for PT, or seeing doc to be sure you're not re-injuring. Warm up moving not static stretches. GOOD Shoes are a key!

This is coming from someone with generally healthy knees but I do hope it's helpful.
Edited by chrissyh On March 14, 2011 11:18 AM
March 14, 2011 11:21 AM
Thank you everyone! I have been exercising 5+ days per week since June without issue. Well, I take that back. I did TurboFire for about 2 months and my knees couldn't take that. Then I began doing strength training and elliptial work at the gym. Now I am doing the strength training along with some fun cardio classes that have been going really well. I want to add the running in for added cardio. Thank you all for the suggestions! I appreciate the support and encouragement!
March 14, 2011 11:24 AM
I agree with everyone else. Check with your doctor and ease into it slowly.

I did the couch to 5k program. Using that, you build up your distance slowly, so after about a month, you're able to run a mile. After 9 weeks, you'll be able to run a 5k.
March 14, 2011 6:33 PM
i've had knee surgery 3 times on my right knee and still can not run on it. I can barely do a jumping jack on it, because the pounding impact is just to much. The doctor told me I should probably not run because the pounding can't possibly do anyones knees any good- yet I'm still going to try.

My suggestion would be to start slow, and work your way up. Your knee will be more likely to reinjure if you try to do to much to fast.

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