About 15 years ago, I downloaded my first running program. Until that point my workouts were sporadic and uninspired. I’d certainly never been able to run longer than 30 second without feeling like I was going to die. Over the next 8 weeks I followed that running program to the letter and just as the program promised I was able to run 5K without stopping. I was so excited and proud that I was finally able to run without stopping for a full 5K. Truth be told it took several weeks after the program ended before I stopped feeling nauseated at the end of my run. But I was still completely over the moon that I was now a runner!
Even more exciting to me was that throughout the whole training program I’d only felt normal soreness in my legs and feet after my runs, nothing that was scary or overwhelming. I continued running and found groups that run throughout different parts of the city on weekends. I lost weight, I was more calm throughout the day. Basically running was the key part of my selfcare to deal with all the things life threw at me.
When I decided to increase my running distance from 5K to 10K, that is when my body started to fall apart.
My kids love being outside. My daughter will hand you her shoes with a very determined look to let you know you are going for a walk. She’s 1.5 y/o and can make it about a quarter of a mile before asking to be carried. And because my son “is a big boy now” he practically runs the whole quarter mile loop just to make sure he beats his sister. Pre- pandemic we would never see anyone out and about in the neighborhood. Since the quarantine we see neighbors out all through the day and evening. It's wonderful! You get to at least see if not meet your neighbors.
During one of our walks I saw a woman walking briskly ahead of us on the sidewalk. Then all of a sudden she stopped and rubbed her right knee. Then after a few more steps she stopped again, stood on her left leg bending and straightening her right leg while on her knee. She was obviously trying to figure why something was hurting just below her kneecap was hurting.
Who wants to walk if all you're going to hear is a pop or a click coming from your knees? I know I don’t. It makes me feel like I’m getting old.
Walking is supposed to help relax you, calm your mind and be good for your body, not make you go down an anxiety driving rabbit hole. How are you supposed to relax when every step you take there is a pop making you question if you are breaking something or causing arthritis.
Walking is great for your body and your mind when you're not worried about your knees the whole time. So I wanted to explain a little bit about what is causing the pop, how to decide if the pop means anything, and how to stop your knee from popping.
I remember the first workout video I ever tried. It was Denise Austin Buns Of Steel on VHS. I wanted to lose weight and I didn't know where to start. After watching one of Denise Austin’s infomercials I was sure I could look amazing if I just did her videos.
I remember being so excited when I finally got the video in the mail. I popped the VHS in my player. The first few exercises were easy, until it was time to squat. She suggests using a chair so you could pretend to sit down then stand up just before sitting.
I distinctly remember being so confused and overwhelmed on how to follow all her directions on how to do the squat correctly.
How can I sit back and not have knees pass my toe? How far back should I sit back in the chair?
How do I not sit all the way down?
I felt so awkward and my mind was racing the whole time and oh how they hurt my knees.
Thankfully the squats were only one exercise… but then there were lunges...so by the end of this workout my knees and ego were very hurt. After a few tries that video sat on the shelf until VHS went out of style. I was just too confused and anxious about how to squat without pain.
It was years before I could squat without pain.
After hearing all that you might be wondering;
Why should you even try to stop knee pain while squatting? If it hurts don’t do it right?
Are you a 40 + year old who has just started a running or walking program that is now getting “random” leg pains? Or perhaps you are trying to increase your miles or your speed and now you have pain on the outside of your knee that travels all the way from your knee to your ankle.
How frustrating! All you’re trying to do is improve your health and you’ve hurt yourself.
Are you now wondering if you’re made to run? Or are starting to get overwhelmed by the whole “getting healthy” progress?
You are not alone. Everyone feels overwhelmed or disappointed when they’ve set a workout or fitness goal that is suddenly stopped by what feels like a failing body.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald