Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5 Ways to Help a Sore Knee

Spring has sprung up here in Michigan! Temperatures are rising and so is my desire to run longer and faster. I've done two 5K races already this year, and I've got a wish-list of races that I want to sign up for. But first, I have to rehab my right knee. It's super sore right now. I'm not a doctor or physical therapist, but I have a basic understanding of the muscles—I can tell that my pain stems from a tight one.

Maybe it's my sartorius?

leg muscles, knee issues, ACE Fitness
As you can tell by the picture, the sartorius muscle inserts on the medial side of the knee—where my pain is. If the sartorius is tight, it will pull on the knee joint and cause pain and pressure. That said, I supposed I could also have a problematic gracilis muscle. It also inserts on the medial side of the knee. And then there's always the quads and hamstrings. So, who knows really. It's something.

How did I hurt myself?

It started after an indoor 3-mile run. I did my second mile on the treadmill at an incline, which I don't normally do. So I think the hill tightened everything up.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it (for right now, anyway).

What's the pain like? Dull, achey tightness. Nothing sharp, no swelling or bruising, which is also why I think the underlying cause is a tight muscle. At the time, I thought it would go away so I went about my business. Read: Classes, yoga, stretching as per the usual. I don't think it got worse, but it certainly didn't get better.

So here I am.
Focused on helping out my sore knee

Because: I signed up for the Soldier Field 10 Mile Run in Chicago on May 27th.

Stupid? Maybe. I don't know. I ran six miles this Sunday and it felt really good. It's the aftermath that killed me. Which, again, I'm taking as further proof that something is tight. Don't worry (mom), I'm being smart about this.

Got a sore knee? You should be smart about it, too.

dealing with pain, knee issues, leg muscles, foam roller
1) Rest and modify as needed.
I've been modifying my classes this week. Read: I haven't been doing any of the leg work. If something hurts, giving it time to rest is best.

2) Hop on a foam roller. 
When your muscles get tight, you have to find a way to release the tension within. Stretching is great, but can be problematic if taken too far on a particularly rigid muscle. I have four different rollers that I am currently rotating through:

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3) Check out your shoes.
Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, depending. If you suddenly develop problems out of nowhere, it could be that your shoes aren't cushioning or supporting your feet anymore. A potentially easy fix, right? I just purchased a pair of Saucony Freedom ISO shoes and my Kinvaras are still pretty decent, so in my case, I don't think this is the issue.

runchat, running, fitness gear
4) Medicate carefully.
Prescribing medication to any of my clients is not within my scope of practice. I would never tell you what to take...that's a conversation you need to have with your doctor. I can only tell you what works for me. If you choose to try these methods, that would need to be your call. So, speaking from experience, I can tell you that an anti-inflammatory is helping me. But I'm using them sparingly. This stuff, on the other hand, gets used regularly:

arnica gel, biofreeze, muscle pain, yuni beauty
I also bought some epsom salts. Verdict is still out on their ultimate effectiveness, although I did notice my legs feeling better in the hour or so after my bath. And, you know, it was a good excuse to sit in a hot bathtub for 20 minutes.

5) Call your doctor.
Bottom line, you need to respect what your body is telling you. If these easy methods of pain relief aren't working, you need to take it a step further and get an assessment from a qualified physician. Don't mess around with a nagging pain, friends.

Question: What do you do when you've got a sore spot? Ever have knee issues? How did you make them feel better? What's your take on Epsom salt baths?

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