THE CLINIC: Strong Quadriceps Will Help Knees

Thu, 6 June 2013 - 2:27 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:

I’m on a weight loss regimen which includes incline walking. I am currently 300 pounds, and my height is 6 foot 4 inches. Eventually, I’d like to start running. In the meantime, I’ve learned that the benefits of walking uphill are very similar to running. However, I was diagnosed with osteochondritis on the medial side of my right knee. I do have knee pain, and wonder whether the incline walking is helping or hurting. Can I expect to run once I reach my interim goal weight of 240? 

Ben Hosler

Maumee, OH

ANSWER:

One of the best ways to mitigate this pain is by performing quadriceps strengthening exercises. Consult a physical therapist on which ones to perform, and which way to point your foot during them so as to specifically strengthen the medial quadriceps. Also try applying ice after your walking workouts for about 15 minutes to the painful side of your knee. Some runners have good results applying ice at night as well, even when there is no pain.

 

An abnormal forefoot position is a leading cause of medial-side osteochondritis, particularly one with an inward turn toward the body’s midline. Generally patients have too much play in the forefoot as it plants, with excessive torque pressure concentrating medially upon impact. I recommend a podiatrist who understands running/walking gaits especially well.

Paul Kiell, MD

Far Hills, NJ

 

ANSWER:

Incline walking can increase the stresses on medial as well as anterior aspects of the knee. You could try flat-surface walking at a more brisk pace instead. If you walk outdoors, be aware that streets are canted for drainage, and this may exacerbate your osteochondritis. Try to walk on opposite sides of the street equally, either by performing an out-and-back route or going clockwise then counterclockwise on consecutive days. Avoid downhill walking and running as well. 

Osteochondritis should not impede your ability to begin a running program. The knee pain you face depends on the extent of the degeneration. Over time your increased quadriceps strength will lend greater support to the knee, and your bone mineral density will improve. Inflammation will likely impede the speed at which you progress, but this will not mean that you do not eventually become accustomed to regular running.

 

Anne Felts, MS, ATC/L

Lawrenceville, GA

 

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. Clinic pieces are edited and details are changed. In some cases pieces represent composites from several queries to, and answers from, the Clinic Advisory Board.

 

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.




Latest News
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done

Aug 02 1:02 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success
Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success

Jun 04 12:26 p.m.

Article by: Rick Ganzi, M.D.

Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running
Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running

May 15 3:03 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Catch Them If You Can
Catch Them If You Can

Apr 08 7:22 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

New Roles of Sports Chiropractic
New Roles of Sports Chiropractic

Feb 21 11:15 a.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables