Help me recover from runners knee?


Jan 19, 2012
houston, texas
I havent run in weeks and i decided to go out for a jog. Ended up doing 5k and giving up before my knee gave out.
Should I be running that much? Maybe i should be doing 1k a day and start building up?
What do you think is the best way to recover from this? And to eventually raise mileage to marathon training. (in long future ofcourse)

It partially depends on how much you've run in the past. If 5k is a longish run for you, then you probably shouldn't have jumped straight into it. Building mileage slowly is always good advice. I would wait a few days and then ease back in with shorter runs. To head off problems in the future it's a good idea to start building your quad strength now, just don't do strengthening before a run (running on tired quads will exacerbate runner's knee).
Chondromalacia Patella / Cracking Knees or Runners Knee

Im assuming you are talking about pain under, below or around the knee cap. This can be called chondromalacia patella or cracking knee. You hear it crack or click more often when you go up the stairs

As you know, the patella is a pulley mechanism. The trochlear groove is the concave surface where the patella (kneecap) makes contact with the femur (thighbone). Also called the ‘trochlea’.

The foot adjusts for the impacts of running with two main spring mechanisms:

1. The Arch Leaf Spring - There have been studies on the arch with all muscles removed leaving just the bones and ligaments. These were extracted from cadavers. What the study showed was that the arch complex itself has the ability to spring back forces without the aid of the muscles.
If any of these 33 joints are locked then the foot cannot absorb the impact force smoothly. The foot will either roll into over supination or over pronation to compensate to roll around these locked joints. Dr. James Stoxen DC

2. The Spring Suspension System Muscles - I coined these muscles as the spring suspension system muscles, the landing muscles or the pronation-supination cuff muscles. When this happens the impact is received as a “negative” by the tendons of the landing muscles.
If any of these muscles and tendons are too weak to handle the impact force, the foot can roll into over supination or over pronation. Dr. James Stoxen DC

In my model the body moves as a lever and a spring.

The foot rolls from supination to pronation. Have you ever heard of over pronation? That is where to foot rolls too far inward. When this happens, the limb internally rotates on impact.

That does not put the patella in a good position to allow for stress and strain free motion.

Right Foot Landing In The Safe Range and Unsafe Range

So if the foot rolls outside the safe range (green-black-green) then the limb rolls in or outside the safe range then the knee will be in a position where the knee cap will grind against the pulley mechanism grove (throchlear grove) This can cause irritation to the cartilage, inflammation and pain.

Not only that but this misalignment of the limb can cause spasms of the muscles from toe to head. The reason is because the body senses the abnormal movement of the limb and reacts with a spasm called a "tonic protective spasm".

This can lead to various changes in the knee and other joints that make runners unhappy
  1. When muscles spasm on many sides of a joint it cause inhibition of others opposite them called reflexive inhibition. That is a fancy term for shutting down muscles. Sometimes we feel our leg go out from under us in a split second.
  2. Since the abnormal movement pattern starts at the foot and goes to the head it can compress every joint from foot to head. This can cause abnormal internal compressive forces on not only the knee but the arch, ankle, knee, hip and spinal discs.
Abnormal Internal Compressive Forces

What we do is a gait evaluation to check how your foot is landing and how it interacts with earth.

Does it...
  1. Does it land with the second toe towards the target, pointing inward or pointing outward?
  2. Does the foot bang when it lands and twist when its lifting off or does it spring down and up?
The intricacies or nuances of how your foot lands during walking or runnig can be tough to see when you are moving so quickly. Also when you have never studied walking or running form and technique its difficult to pick up the details. I still urge you to study your walk and run form and technique so you can get a better feel for how your body is interacting or impacting the earth and how to improve it.

The reason is because your body will impact with the earth 270,000,000 or so times in a lifetime.

Flaws in your walking or running form can happen in weeks or months depending on:
  • what shoes you wear outside running training - a poorly constructed shoe can be used for 6 months adding up to 1,850,000 abnormal movements burning the pattern into your brain for a poor landing in running.
  • a stressful time in your life - stress causes people to tense up the entire body leading to more of a bang and twist running impact rather than a spring and roll running impact
How to do your own gait evaluation
  1. Get a $140 HD flip video camera.
  2. Video yourself walking barefoot 10 steps toward the camera and back. Do this while walking, fast walking, and running.
  3. Download it
  4. Watch the video frame by frame to see how the foot lands and you will see why the patella is not in the groove. It is obvious and enlightening.

Here is a blog post you may like that talks about “foot lock” which is when joints of the foot are locked causing abnormal movement patterns (compensations) which effect patella position and a lot more! click here to view

Next, I developed a 3 step self help approach to helping align foot on impact and improve the spring loading capacity of the limb. The three steps to my human spring approach are:
  1. Release the stiffness or locking of the joints of the spring mechanism so the muscles can pull through full range of motion to maximize development.
  2. Strengthen the pronation supination cuff, landing muscles AKA spring suspension muscles with lever resistance exercises.
  3. Strengthen the pronation supination cuff, landing muscles AKA spring suspension muscles with spring impact exercises.
This three step approach will help you expand the force loading capacity of your human spring to better spring off from impacts, to have maximum performance and reduce risk of injury.

In running as you know there is simplistically the "take off" and the "landing"

When you run with braces (shoes) your body has an artificial support and an artificial landing gear that most think will keep the foot centered. You know that the muscles to do that.

This is what is unique and cool about barefoot running training is:
  1. When you are barefoot running you aren't copping out on strengthening by putting a brace on your foot to try to hold it in the safe range like a motion control shoe or an orthotic like the doctors who can't get their runners out of their braces recommend. You really have no choice but to strengthen the landing gear so that the muscles will maintain your foot in the safe range.
  2. When you are barefoot running you don't have the artificial spring (cushioned sole) to absorb the impact like the doctors who recommend more cushion so you really have to have a springy foot. While it might seem like heavily-cushioned shoes would be the answer, they are in fact, likely doing more damage as they dramatically affect the arch spring’s ability to appropriately absorb, store, then release the energy from each step.
  3. When you train in multiple direction movements you can get your foot in many other landing configurations which stimulate more muscle development through adaptation to create a stronger landing gear
Rather than strapping five inch ‘pillows’ to your feet, the best solution is to repair the spring mechanism in the arches by following the procedures and exercises in this article.

Most runners strengthen the take off muscles thinking the artificial support and think that their artificial landing gear (shoe cushion) will do the trick. We all know the majority of injuries occur in the landings.

The key is to strengthen the muscles that resist the over rolling of the foot outside the "safe range between supination to pronation (rolling from the outside to the inside) during impacts. If the foot rolls to an unsafe position then the knee rolls to an unsafe position.

Logical so far?

I call these muscles the landing muscles, the spring suspension system muscles or the pronation supination cuff muscles

Introducing the Pronation Supination Cuff Training

The muscles that prevent over pronation and over supination of the foot consist of the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and peroneus brevis.

The strength of these supination and pronation spring suspension are not covered much in bodybuilding or fitness magazines, training routines etc but of all the muscles, in fact these are THE most important muscles in the body to work.

  • These muscles suspend your foot as a leaf spring so it can bounce your body off the ground instead of bang your body into the ground.
  • They store FREE elastic energy when your mass impacts the ground when they stretch. This storage of energy is what allows your body to move more efficiently as a spring mechanism rather than an inefficient lever mechanism.
  • These muscles, which I also refer to the pronator supinator cuff muscles, maintain the foot and lower limb in the safe range between supination and pronation
Here are my last two articles you might find helpful to release the tension on the spring and strengthen the landing gear muscles so that your limb will land straight, spring off the ground with the knee cap and other joints in good alignment with little to no abnormal compressive forces as the goal.

How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?

Self-Tests & Exercises To Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination From Impacts During Walking and Running.

You really should do the video tutorials #77 - 89 on my site before every run and when you take off your shoes at night.

Locate them on this page:

The key training I do to strengthen my landing gear is run the entire training session in zig zag patterns

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