Knee Injury (PFPS) and Plantar Update and Treatment

Tuesday’s Workout – When an Easy Run Feels Tough…

5 miles on T/M – recovery pace (10:40 pace)
I was supposed to do this run on Monday, but ended up pushing it to yesterday because my legs were TIRED from my 17 miler on Sunday! My legs were still tired yesterday, and I had to start at 5.5 (~11:00 pace) on the treadmill – even that felt tough! I really wanted to stop and walk, but I told myself to keep going for just 10 minutes, and another 10 minutes…and I found that after two miles, my legs loosened up and i was able to turn up the speed incrementally to 6.0 (10:00 pace). I guess that’s the purpose of a shake-out run? Hopefully my legs are recovered enough to do a short speed session tonight!

Dinner was leftover cioppino with the last of the tilapia from the weekend :) Wish we always had leftovers this good!

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Knee Injury/ Plantar Fasciitis Update

It’s been a few weeks since my last injury post, so I thought I’d post an update on how my body’s been doing and what’s been working! In case this is your first visit, I have Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) in my left knee, an overuse injury that occurred back in November of last year.  I’ve also had some very mild symptoms of plantar fasciitis in my right foot that started in January.  I was worried that one or both of these injuries could sideline me from marathon training this year.

So how’s it all going? My knee feels fine 95% of the time, and it doesn’t hurt during runs except when I stop and start abruptly, so I’ve been avoiding interval workouts for a few weeks (we’ll see how tonight goes!). My plantar issue is on and off – I didn’t feel any tightness for two weeks, and then the next week it started again. The last two weeks have been fine again, and I’m thinking/hoping I’ve found the solution.  I know these are common running injuries, so I wanted to share what’s been working for me!
injury treatment.jpg

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

1. Superfeet orthotics – I can’t speak highly enough of these orthotics; I was really reluctant to try orthotics, but heard such glowing testimonials about Superfeet that I decided to give them a try.  I’ve run in them a dozen times now, including the 17 miler this past weekend, and I have felt NO plantar tightness during or after my runs! For full disclosure: my feet do feel a little uncomfortable for the first mile of the run as they adjust to the support, but then they’re great for the rest of the run! I think the adjustment period will get shorter and shorter as I continue to wear them.  I wear Superfeet Blue, which is a moderate arch profile.
superfeet collage

2 & 3. I’ve posted about my foot strengthening exercises and spiky ball before, but to be honest I haven’t been keeping up with these because I’ve been busy and the Superfeet have been doing the trick! I do want to get back to the exercises after my marathon training is over, because the orthotics support my feet, but don’t strengthen the muscles/ fascia.

Knee (PFPS) Treatment

1. Dynamic warm-up – I NEVER used to warm-up before my runs before, but after my physical therapist asked me to give it a shot, I found that I definitely felt looser and better at the beginning of my run.  I rarely skip the warm-up now! I’ve also found it a great way to get warm and get rid of nervous energy before a race. Here’s what I do:
Walking on heels – exactly what it sounds like!
Knee hugs –bring one knee to chest and hug it with your arms, hold one second and let leg go. Move forward, and repeat with your other knee. Continue to move forward and alternate hugging knees with each step.
Slow Butt Kicks – Bring the heel of one foot to your butt and grab your foot with your hand, holding the stretch for one second (looks like a quadriceps stretch). Let the foot go, take a step and repeat with the other foot. Continue to move forward and alternate stretching your legs.
Soldier March – As you walk, swing one leg slowly upward till it makes a 90 degree angle with your other leg, while keeping both legs straight.  Alternate swinging legs as you take steps and move forward.

2. Post-Run stretching – another thing I never used to do regularly! I am religious about doing calf and hip flexor stretches right after my run now.  Here are some good calf stretch and hip flexor stretch options!

3. Knee exercises – I do the PT exercises assigned by my therapist 5 times a week – it’s very similar to this knee conditioning routine I’ve linked to before.

4. KT tape – I used this KT tape to tape my patella in place once or twice a week; the tape stays in place for days!

I’ve also been compexing my calves a few times a week as tight calves can contribute to knee issues, and I try to do yoga and strength training once a week – cross training is important to strengthen the body against injury.

Hope this guide to what works for me is helpful to someone going through a similar injury.  Minor injuries don’t need to sideline your training, but they should be addressed before they get worse!

Do you wear orthotics while running? 

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2 thoughts on “Knee Injury (PFPS) and Plantar Update and Treatment

  1. I wear orthotics when running after a long bout with plantar fasciitis. The off-the-shelf ones help me a lot better than custom ones that I paid an arm and a leg for. Make sure you never go barefoot, especially on wood floors or outdoors. Orthotic sandals are great for that. Good luck!

    1. Dawn H.

      Thanks for the advice Randy! I found out from the doctor today that it wasn’t actually PF, thank goodness. I just need to rest my foot this week and make sure it isn’t a stress fracture.

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