In my 40s, I was routinely running (jogging is probably a correct word) six to eight miles several times a week – sometimes every day. I developed a myriad of running injuries:
● Chondromalacia patella (runner’s knee)
● Achilles tendinitis
● Plantar fasciitis
● Shin splints
● Iliotibial band syndrome
I was fortunate my son was running competitively in high school and had established a relationship with some very knowledgeable experts in the field of running injuries. I was able to overcome each of those injuries with the advice of those sports experts.
My physician did not know how to treat the cause of my chondromalacia patella (or other running problems). He would just give me pills to counter the pain and swelling. However, I wanted to know the root causes of my problems.
The muscles in the back of our legs (hamstrings) get stronger with running. Over time, our hamstring muscles overpower the muscles in the front of our legs (quadriceps). The result of this constant tension causes on one side causes a notch to be carved into the cartilage under the knee cap. Is this the only cause of chondromalacia? No, but it is the most common and easily treatable.
If we maintain the appropriate balance between our hamstrings and our quadriceps, we should minimize any damage to our knees. I found that I could wear a special kind of neoprene knee brace with a hole in the neoprene over my knee cap, and roll the top of the brace down and the bottom of the brace up and double the strength of the neoprene just right above and below my knee. This isolated my knee cap and forced it to stay in one place while I ran.
It didn’t cure my problem, but it was an effective Band-Aid that allowed me to keep running without pain until my chondromalacia was no longer a factor. It wasn’t until I began doing body weight deep knee bends, to balance the strength levels on the front and back of my knees, that my chondromalacia injuries left and never returned. We should be smart when we exercise. Avoid injury. Exercise affects the elderly faster unless proper precautions are taken in advance.