Written by Kristen Hawley, MSPT
I have been experiencing right lateral knee pain for years off and on, but was able to manage it. I was able to run marathons and participate in pick up basketball games without any major problems. A few years ago, the pain became intense and I was unable to continue exercising and had difficulty using stairs. I finally went to see a physician to check it out and was really shocked to hear what he had to say. He said that I had osteoarthritis in my knee from an old knee injury in high school. I knew that osteoarthritis isn’t one of those problems that are “fixed”, but more “managed”. I was given instructions by the physician not to participate in any running activities or plyometric (intense jumping) activities and given a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement. Initially, taking the supplement was helpful enough and I was still able to run and jump without pain. I ignored the physician’s warnings about activity restrictions. I even trained for the Pittsburgh Marathon. However, the intense training was starting to wear on my body. During the marathon, I had to walk a few times due to the pain. This experience forced me to really take a look at what I was doing to my body. Running was my thing and it wasn’t going to give it up easily. Was I really going to have to give up an activity that I loved doing?
The hard answer was YES (if I didn’t want to have a knee replacement at age 40). So, I spent a month in a slump and not sure what my plan should be. Below is the plan that worked for me, and maybe can also help you!
- WORK WISE- NOT HARD: I had to come to terms with understanding that the smart thing to do would retire from my running days and look at it as an opportunity to enjoy other activities, not to end all activities.
- NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS AND OTC IBUPROFEN: I have found some relief on rainy days from taking two Motrin as needed; as well as resolved my “flare up” of symptoms by taking Glucosamine/chondroitin supplement
- STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY: For me, I took a strength training class at ProCare called PCFit which involved a whole body functional training. I do still have some pain with some of the moves, but can easily modify them for comfort (as a trainer can do the same for you). For my knee, strong muscles surrounding the joint improve its stability. Full flexibility and range of motion help me maintain normal walking and movement patterns.
- LOW IMPACT ALTERNATIVES: Spin class has been the low impact alternative to running for me. I can still get a good workout without putting increased stress on my knee
If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain which threatens to change the daily activities in your life, please come see me or any other ProCare therapist. In conjunction with your physician, I can evaluate and recommend a plan of care which will likely help! Like me, many therapists went to school to study and practice physical therapy because of our own injuries. My colleagues in other ProCare clinics and I would welcome the chance to meet you and discuss YOUR case. Simply stop in, let us know what it going on. Most insurances do NOT require a prescription from your doctor for the first 30 days of treatment. At ProCare, we work with your physician and handle all of the paperwork for you. If you have nagging pain in a specific body location or joint, please stop by to learn about options for a resolution or management which will get you back to YOUR activities as soon as possible!
Kristen Hawley, Clinic Director
295 South Fourth Street
Huntingdon, PA 16652