Hi, I'm a 33 yr old female, I have been training (6 months) for my first marathon, which is just 2 weeks away. I have had no injury problems and completed 4 20 mile long runs. Last weekend during my long run I felt pain in my left knee (lower portion) after stopping for a drink at a water fountain. This was around mile 12, and during a gradual 2 mile downhill. I went about 2-3 miles further before quitting because the pain got worse. I iced it when I got home, took a day off and ran pain free for the next 3 days, but none of the runs were more than 10 miles. Yesterday I did a 16 mile run (flat course) and all was fine until I stopped for a minute at mile 12 to drink. When I continued running I felt pain in the knee again, but I was able to complete the next 4 miles without too much pain. It hurt the rest of the day (I iced it twice, and twice today. I still feel some discomfort walking around.
I have noticed that during my 20 mile runs, if I stop for a few minutes, my knees feel sore when I resume running, but usually are ok. My concern is that the marathon is only 2 weeks from today and I'm not sure what to do. I don't plan to do any long runs over 10 miles. Should I stop running completely for the next 3 - 4 days? Is it possible that I will be able to complete the marathon without knee pain ? Why is it painful only after I resume running after a short stop?
I am feeling pretty disappointed since my training had been going so well. Some other info that might be helpful: my shoes are about 1 month old, I don't have a pronation problem.
Any help you could give would be much appreciated.
This is an unusual problem. First, it doesn't sound like a weight bearing problem, rather, it sounds like you are dehydrating a connective tissue while you train (normal), that becomes painful as it recovers (while you are at rest). The connective tissues that might be involved include articular cartilage, meniscus, ligaments, and joint capsule. Ligaments and capsule have nreve endings, cartilage and meniscus do not. Also, another thought is that you are irritating a tissue that painfully swells up when you stop running. The same tissues could be a culprit.
So what to do? Kathleen, keep in mind that when the knee complains, usually the problem is elsewhere - typically at the foot or hip. My suspicion is that while you "do not have a pronation problem" you might have any of a number of biomechanical presentations that would be resolved if you were to be placed in orthotics. Naturally, it is too late to do anything about this now (just before the marathon), but you can, and probably should, try using an off the shelf device like "Superfeet". While a poor substitute for custom orthotics, they may give you enough support to getyou through the next two weeks.
As soon as you can, get a biomechanical evaluation, and get fit for custom orhtotics.
As far as running without hurting your knee is concerned...I'll leave that up to you. If you put a device in your shoe, and you find that you can run without pain, or without too much pain, then by all means. Either way, good luck with this. I hope you complete your marathon.