Cross Country: My Right Knee Has Been Hurting Recently?

Question by Jordan: Cross country: my right knee has been hurting recently?
How can i treat this naturally? Its been hurting for 5 days already. I can kind of tolerate the pain when i run but when i run i cant help but think about my knee. Any possibilities why?

Best answer:

Answer by Hal Lancer
You don’t know exactly which knee malady you’re dealing with, but *most* cases of knee pain in a cross country runner would be due to either patella chondromalacia (also known as patellofemoral syndrome) or knee bursitis. Natural treatments would be resolve pain in many of these cases. But the most important element of natural treatment for this is rest. If you’re in the middle of a cross country season, there’s no way to do that short of leaving the team. If your team competes in the spring, you can treat this by resting the knee–no running or other strenuous activity such as weight-lifting–until the pain has been gone for a while. Then you would slowly resume not with an immediate return to the activity that caused the problem but with an exercise program to strengthen the muscles serving the knee. This can work.

You can also engage in activity modification with a different style of shoe. Ice would help initially to reduce inflammation. You could take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, but though these don’t require a prescription, they’re not exactly natural, and ibuprofen can cause issues especially when used long-term. Runners can abuse these, not the addictive way painkillers are abused, but by causing other issues (gastrointestinal, heart, kidney, liver) due to the medication, especially when used long-term or taken as some runners do before a running event to prevent inflammation.

To be honest the chances of success in treating this by doing everything except resting because you want to continue to do cross-country are not good. Rest is the most important element but the hardest treatment element to get an athlete to cooperate with, as I’m sure you would agree.

There’s also a chance, though, that you have a more serious issue such as patellar dislocation, ligament damage, meniscal damage, a minor fracture, or even arthritis. These aren’t as likely in a cross country runner, but they are possible. If a doctor thought you might have one of these more serious issues, the doctor might begin with the conservative natural treatments above, but chances for success would be limited in a runner. Then you might need more aggressive medical intervention to get some improvement.

At some point you need to make some adjustments and get this figured out and resolved. If you don’t, you will be at increasing risk of developing knee osteoarthritis later in life, and that is something you want to avoid if at all possible. There is no cure at this time. They can replace your knee with a mechanical implant, but it’s expensive, will force an end to most kinds of athletic activity, has a limited lifespan, and they have to take more bone each time they redo it, causing other problems. Avoid this if you can.

Good luck and good health.

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