Thursday, June 21, 2012

Knees--what a pain

There is a book out called NEVER GET OLD. But I digress. Knees are the bane of older people’s existence. OK—my existence.

I scampered across a tennis court in livelier days and tore a cartilage and had surgery on the left one when I was 14. The right one is horrible just from hauling my fat around. Thanks for telling me to walk an hour a day, docs. Those diets? Also did not work.

Anyhow, I am creeping about and don’t want any fancy-schmancy replacements or radiation from x-rays or ANYTHING that will have unintended consequences like my bad eye did. So I creep.

Dr Michael Bernstein, Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group in Carmel, NY, says even runners are not doomed to knee pain.

Then he says—get this—that on average for every 1000 hours of running, there are 4 injuries Of these, 42% are knees.

The most common knee pain of runners is runner’s knee—the kneecap moved improperly and irritates the surrounding cartilage, which wears away and causes pain in front of the knee and underneath the kneecap.

It’s important to train properly. Increase speed and distance gradually. Rest 1-2 days a week. Alternate short and long runs.

You should also cross train. Running tends to overdevelop the muscles in the backs of the thighs—this can lead to runner’s knee. Add cycling and elliptical.

Strengthen the muscles—this stabilized the joints. Use one-legged resistance and one-legged balance routines.

And, of course, wear the right shoes. There is no one right answer to this. Talk to a specialist.

If it hurts, stop. Let the body heal—thus sayeth Dr. B.

It's been my experience in a family of runners that they don't take days off or lighten up.

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