THE CLINIC: Left Knee Joint Woes

Thu, 6 Sept. 2012 - 12:38 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:

My partially dislocated, off-center knee joint has caused me tendinitis on and off in my left knee over the years. I completed my sixth marathon recently and near the end of my training, I began to notice a grating feeling as I was climbing stairs. Due to rotator cuff repair, I took 10 weeks off from running after the marathon, gradually built back up and now am running and spinning at the gym on a regular basis. My longest runs are currently nine miles. I do feel knee pain at times going up the stairs, though I have done strengthening exercises, such as lunges and squats, for a number of years. 

 

My sports medicine physician said the patellar subluxation was the root cause, though now he has also diagnosed arthritis in my knees. I'm taking glucosamine and continuing the strengthening exercises—presently weight-bearing straight leg raises. What is your take on the effectiveness of surgery to repair the subluxing? And assuming I'm able to stabilize the alignment problem in my knee and continue training, can running cause the arthritis to spread more quickly?

 

Karen Larson

Rockville, MD 

 

ANSWER:

An MRI will give you a look at the integrity of the bone coating inside your knee, which may help you formulate a long-term plan. To absorb shock, you may try wearing a Chopat band around your patellar tendon just below the knee. A physical therapist could try taping your knee to the inside to offset the subluxation. I would avoid hills for now.

 

Rob Meislin, MD

New York, NY

 

ANSWER:

It's very important to increase the flexibility in your quads, ITB and hamstrings. This takes pressure off the patella. The strengthening regimen is good; now you must incorporate stretching. Most of us have some arthritis in our knees. This won't become worse with running. It's the lack of flexibility that could exacerbate the arthritis. Regular stretching is essential, and keep in mind that it takes a minimum of three months to really see flexibility gains.

 

I feel that surgery is not a good option for you at this time. It could take up to two years to fully recover, with compromised running performance. After such a long period of time, you likely would have found other ways to exercise.

 

Robert Erickson, MD

Chicago, IL

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.


(RUNNING & FITNEWS® November/ December 2008 • Volume 26, Number 6)




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