I’m back baby! Back on the trail, the streets (check out this mapping tool to help you plan your street run), and any other surface you put me on, I’m going to run on it. I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks and felt like a kid on Christmas morning, excited with anticipation of presents but restraining myself from ripping through them (well, ripping through my knee). I had to pace myself. I only ran 4 miles. However, I’m also like a kid in that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or in this case, my mind is faster than my current conditioning. I went ahead and ran at my previous 4 mile pace. I did have some pain in my knees but nothing major. Here’s how to get back to running like me after experiencing jumper’s knee.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with jumper’s knee you need to treat it.
Ice: Apply ice to your knee for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours for 2 to 3 days until the pain and swelling go down. Don’t have 2 or 3 days to sit around and ice yourself every 3 hours? Then make sure you ice them after you run at the least.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Take some Tylenol or Advil to help the swelling go down as well as give you the ability to do knee exercises without pain. Knee strengthening is important.
Wear a Band: Wear a band across the patellar tendon, called an infrapatellar strap, which will support your patellar tendon and prevent it from becoming overused. You overdo everything. I bought a couple of “Adjustable Knee Straps” at my local drugstore for about 15 bucks. They really help. Plus I think they look kind of cool. Like a sweat bands for your knees!
Arch Support: Stop trying to do everything on your own and get some support, well, for your arches at least. This is especially true for overpronators like myself. Some running shoes already have arch support but you may need to add more support or even add archs to your normal chillin’ shoes. Wait. You have shoes that are made for other things than running? Always chillin’.
Once you get back on your feet (I know, I’m funny) you don’t want to get patellar tendonitis again. So how do you avoid it? Well, patellar tendonitis is caused by overuse of the knee from jumping, running uphill, or biking uphill. You aren’t going to avoid running uphills but there are some other things you can avoid doing such as squatting (we have toilets in America to help you avoid this), excessive bending, sitting “Indian” style (what an offensive term, have you ever seen a Native American sit like this? I didn’t think so.), kneeling directly on your knee caps (unless you are “taking cover”, in this case go ahead and kneel or better yet, lay flat on the ground), excessive stairs, riding a bike with a low seat, or using the breaststroke when swimming. See, its easy to avoid these painful activites. Make sure you gently stretch before and after exercising too. Lastly, probably the most important action you can take is to strengthen you thigh muscles. This takes pressure off your patellar tendon. Thunder thighs are so hot right now. Jumper’s knee is lame.