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Knee strap & "Runners Knee"

Catrin2012-07-30 06:21:20 +0000 #1
I've "runners knee" that has recently improved so much that I've been able to do some short sprinting, and it's felt better than it has in years. Then Saturday I had a little fall on the trail (rear tire slipped in some deep dust) and bumped my knee pretty well - aggravating this condition

Things are feeling much better, but I want to give my knee some additional support between now and my vacation. While the pain is mostly gone, I can tell that there is still some inflammation in the knee when I walk down steps. I like the look of something like this: and don't think I need something like this: .

Has anyone successfully used the more simple knee strap for patella problems? It isn't as bad as the last time I aggravated it, just trying to support it while continuing my activities at a lower intensity level - and I've scheduled more rest days this week than normal which will also help.

OakLeaf2012-07-30 06:32:36 +0000 #2
Well, with the caveat that I haven't needed them since I took up Chi Running, ditched the orthotics and started working on my hip strength and foot and ankle strength and mobility ...

I did use them for several years. I tried them all and IME the Futuro: brand is the most comfortable.

If you have kneecap tracking problems (which is what they usually mean when they say "runner's knee"), a sleeve like the second one you linked to can actually aggravate that. Plus, my experience with those is that they chafe the popliteal area something awful.
SadieKate2012-07-30 07:10:38 +0000 #3

Originally Posted by OakLeaf

and started working on my hip strength and foot and ankle strength and mobility ...

+1. Having had patellar issues my entire life, I wouldn't touch any straps or supports without some significant medical device and investigation. The injury was only on Saturday. Try a little RICE instead.

To add to Oakleaf's training regimen: Due to knee pain, I finally ditched the traditional "functional fitness" cross training classes and went to a coach with a MS in exercise physiology. Unlike the usual "coach" out there, she didn't say "let's strengthen the quads" but "let's strengthen your hips, glutes, ab/adductors, hamstrings, calves, feet and calves to get your foot and knee aligned properly."

We're essentially working on everything but the quads, and nothing allows easy balance (like 2 feet on the floor/bosu in the same plane). In only 6 weeks, I went from mewling like a kitten on any descent to a walk/run on a steep trail half racewith no residual soreness. That last is the key point. No residual knee pain for the first time in 36 years. None. Nada.

I guess, bottom line, is that if you want to improve in cycling, running, etc., you need to do exercises specific to that sport and to your individual weak body point. It isn't about gaining muscle weight, it's about getting stronger to prevent injury and make you more efficient and faster at your chosen sport.

I don't need to do a two-legged squat to flip tires on a trail run or ride. I do need balance on one leg pounding down a hill, or strong obliques to help me correct wheel slippage--none of which I was getting in "cross training" classes.

Off my soapbox now but wanted to add my 2 cents about protecting knees.
Hi Ho Silver2012-07-30 06:48:25 +0000 #4
I have a bad knee, so I'm fairly familiar with all the straps/bands/braces that are offered. I'd go with the strap, as opposed to the "sleeve", simply because I always found that the sleeve (i.e., basically a sort of brace) actually aggravated my knee.

If you want to go really cheap, you can do what I do when I'm out and don't have my strap with me - get a pair of knee high stockings, cut off the foot on one of them, and roll it up to just below the knee. It exerts just enough pressure to ease my tendonitis.
Catrin2012-07-30 06:35:13 +0000 #5
While it might be shocking that I didn't wait a month to see my doctor (an osteopath) for a change, I just got home from his office. Thankfully I didn't do any real damage to my knee, apparently the way I fell bruised the area more underneath the kneecap than anything. There is internal inflammation, and he strongly recommended a brace like this one: . I tried on several at the store and as this was the most comfortable I went with it. We will see, I took the rest of the day off and am doing the RICE thing, tomorrow will try the brace. It isn't a total sleeve, it has three straps that are very adjustable. He said the knee strap wouldn't provide the support where I need it until the inflammation goes away. If it does seem to aggravate it then I will return it to CVS and get a strap.

He put my knee through its paces and saw nothing to worry about regarding cartilage, ligaments or tendons. Whew! We know I've a bit of knee arthritis, but that hasn't advanced. The knee cap doesn't feel unstable in the slightest, and that is a huge change from 1.5 years ago.

SadieKatie, I agree with you entirely. Thankfully so do my gym instructors. They focus on teaching us how to use the body in different ways to gain both functional and sport specific fitness - starting with where our individual weaknesses lie. My legs are quite strong, so I've been focusing on balance, core, lateral and hip work along with upper body. I can no longer afford an individual personal trainer, but thankfully there are some pretty amazing resources available for free at my gym, for which I am thankful.

Mountain biking/hiking vacation starts two weeks from today, I AM going to be ready
sookiesue2012-07-30 08:47:08 +0000 #6
Hi -

If you are interested in exploring acupuncture, I had great success treating knee problems this way. I played basketball growing up and had twisted my knees around enough that I wore support braces on both knees for any exercise for a few years. When I was about 27 I started seeing an acupuncturist for allergies (which also worked for me) and she did some treatments for my knees.

I was able to throw out my knee braces and haven't had problems since.

Acupuncture isn't for everyone but if it's something you would consider, you may find it helpful and supportive of the other therapies you are doing.


yellow2012-07-30 07:49:31 +0000 #7
I'll add one more maintenance suggestion: patella mobility. I've had what I call very extremely minor barely noticeable but noticeable patella-femoral garbage due to a kneecap that doesn't track quite right for years. It's never sidelined me. At the suggestion of a physical therapist years ago, I started doing patella mobilization 3 or so nights a week just before I go to bed, only for a couple of minutes. This consists of me relaxing the leg (out straight) and pushing the patella around. For me, pushing the patella side to side keeps it happy. When I do this with regularity, I have zero symptoms. When I slack off, it talks to me a little.

It certainly won't hurt and it only takes a couple of minutes.
Catrin2012-07-30 08:06:25 +0000 #8
The knee feels much better today, but now the bruising is much more apparent on two sides of the knee. The patella doesn't really feel unstable...but there is still some discomfort. My dr said I didn't have to stop my activities, just not run or ride for a few days and wear the brace. I think the brace I purchased is a bit on the overkill side so am going to return it this morning and get the Futuro knee strap instead.

Thanks everyone for your comments, they are helpful. My doctor gave me a bunch of rehab exercises - and come to find out they are almost all exercises I normally do on an almost daily basis anyway. No wonder my knee has improved so much in recent months!

added: I think taking the afternoon off yesterday and spending much of the remainder of the day with my knee elevated really helped. Walking down the stairs in the parking garage this morning was a far more pleasant experience than yesterday is for listening to the doctor for a change!



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