/ Knee pain with a full season ahead

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Harry Cook - on 12 Sep 2018

Heading for BC this winter with a full season to go at with no work, however I'm experiencing some sort of chronic knee pain in my left knee. Ski and board so on the board its my rear leg. Considering going to see physio but advice would be better before I commit to more money. The pain feels to be in the mid central part of my knee in like a vertical strip, and will appear at different points throughout the day, If I go for a run it'll be much worse a few hours later. There's no swelling but just a bit of pain thats more an annoyance than anything but makes me worry it'll be worse with the impact skiing has. Ive done loads of 2 week holidays in which my left knee will be painful at the end of however I've put that down to 7 hours skiing for 14 days straight with little in the way of preparation before hand. 

Anyone got any ideas on if its possible to rectify and if so any advice for doing so?


DaveHK - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

Get to a physio but not a Geordie one because it will only confuse them when you say you've got knee problems.

Doug on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

When I had knee problems several years ago I went to the sports injury clinic at Glenmore Lodge (I was living in Strathspey at the time). I saw a doctor & then had a few sessions of physiotherapy. Any thing similar where you live ? If not try to find a good physio

GarethSL on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

You have my full sympathies as I think I'll be going into winter with a totally knackered knee. I'm no expert but having spent far too much time at the doctors, a physio and a chiro this month I can certainly pass on what I've learned so far. Obviously the first advice would be chat to your doc and get a professionals opinion.

I'm no medic so wont even try to diagnose what might be up with you, but it sounds as though you still have no problems with knee articulation if you can still run, which is good and suggests its nothing too major. My injury isn't anything really spectacular and I can hardly walk, so you have that going for you.

One thing I have noticed is that the advice I have received, across the board, for my knee has followed the same trend. This has essentially involved a basic RICE regime for a couple of weeks and I think doing the same will really help you out. 

Rest - Recognise that you are actually injured. Give your knee some rest. Stop running, start walking. If you're bouldering too, perhaps put that on hold as well, essentially avoid doing anything that can strain or hyper-extend your knee.

Ice - Use ice, even though you don't have any obvious inflammation you can see or feel, there may still be some, it will also give you some relief. Of course this should be done during the first 24-36 hours after injury but like me, I think you probably haven't realised until now that you were actually injured.

Compression - Consider a knee support. It may or may not help, you can try some basic tubigrip stuff or a sports knee support.

Elevation - Try sleeping with a pillow under your knee to support it and hold it in a more natural position

In addition, do some basic stretches and knee exercises, stretch for at least 40-60 seconds and don't underestimate recovery time. It all sounds a little excessive but If  you are disciplined and persistent now you will likely save yourself a lot of trouble in your season. Hopefully you will end up with much stronger and more stable knee that will resist any further injury. 

For exercises the NHS has a pretty good info side for knee rehab. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/knee-exercises-for-runners/

Hope this helps and good luck!

Pinch'a'salt on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

If I was heading to BC for a full winter to play I would spend the money to see a physio and get a proper assessment - there is some good advice above and I would throw in stretching/yoga/pilates, proprioception & balance exercises (slack-lining etc) all of which have helped keep knee niggles at bay (so far) for me (going into winter #26 of full time skiing 6/7 days a week...) - but nothing beats a proper assessment by a good physio.

Pinch'a'salt on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to DaveHK:

Badoom-tish !!


summo on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:


Or find another that has sports experience.

I'd stop running immediately or anything else that antagonises it.

Post edited at 10:43
rogersavery - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

NHS physio is free

And they have a financial insentive to fix you. But having said that some NHS physics are a waist of space, but some are amazing - look for local recommendations and then ask for a appointment with them by name.

where are you located?

Post edited at 11:06
GridNorth - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to rogersavery:

I had pain down the right side of my knee and over the course of 4 years visited several NHS Physio's to no affect.  I thought that I would have to give up climbing so as a last resort I went private.  The guy gave me some exercises to do to stretch the hamstring and within 2 weeks I was cured and I have never had the condition since.


Robert Durran - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

>  Considering going to see physio but advice would be better before I commit to more money.

If doing active stuff is a big part of your life, then there are not much better ways of spending money than on a good physio.

LastBoyScout on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

> I'm experiencing some sort of chronic knee pain in my left knee. Ski and board so on the board it's my rear leg.

There's your problem - you're riding goofy

Joking aside, my Uncle has knackered knees from years of footballing injuries and skis with knee supports and ibuprofen, but I'd definitely start with a good physio and, preferably, one with experience of ski injuries.

rogersavery - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to GridNorth:


like I said, some nhs physios are next to useless, the first nhs one I saw for my shoulder didnt do much more than suggest I move my cup of tea nearer so I don’t have to reach for it.

however the current nhs physio I go to see when needed has fixed: patella tendinitis in both knees, dequervains tendonitis (thumb), some soft tissue damage to my knee, another damaged shoulder & tennis elbow - appointments with in 2 weeks of asking and all fixed very promptly - all on the nhs


GridNorth - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to rogersavery:

In all fairness I think the chap I saw had been a Physio for some Olympics team so was specialised with regard to sports injuries.  As soon as I described the situation he knew what it was.


summo on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> In all fairness I think the chap I saw had been a Physio for some Olympics team so was specialised with regard to sports injuries.  As soon as I described the situation he knew what it was.

I agree, it's money seldom wasted. Digression... there is a good joint practice operating out of Preston and Manchester..  all good athletes and also gb team physios. But more for running than ski related problems, although it sounds like it is running related even though the op wants to ski. 

Womble on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

Speaking as someone with possibly the same problem as you. 

My symptoms: knee pain middle of knee horizontally and just below kneecap (I think) vertically. 

Diagnosis from runner friend: tightening of quads from too much running downhill. Specifically there is a muscle in your upper leg whose tendon goes down through (I think) the knee cap. Tight quads causes pulling on the tendon and pain over the knee. 

Solution: try simply stretching the quads and get a foam roller on them. Also do your IT band for good measure. I did this for 4 days and it’s certainly helped. Going for my first run in a week on Saturday so hopefully it will have fixed it.

be interested to see if that helps! Hope so. 

Wilderbeest - on 14 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

sounds like "runners knee" but the cause can be tricky to pin down exactly, imbalance causing tracking issues in the Patella.

does it hurt going up stairs?



Dave Stelmach on 20 Sep 2018
In reply to Harry Cook: surely your first advice should come from your GP who, if necessary, can refer you for MRI which is the ultimate non-invasive diagnostic tool for soft tissue knee injuries. A Physio cannot refer you for those, but can help more if they have a definite diagnosis, which is not always possible from a physical examination. Good luck!


Bjartur i Sumarhus on 20 Sep 2018
In reply to rogersavery:

"... .. a waist of space, "

I usually have that after a big poo

nuts and bolts on 01 Oct 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

I think in your position I would be going to a physio, not so much for treatment as an assessment of your stance and confirmation - none of us are symmetrical and given you experience the problem always in the left knee it may be related extra stress from a conformation problem (eg legs different lengths, differing degrees of cant at the knee , spinal problem - indeed a plethora of potential problems) which a good physio will be able to spot.

Treatment is determined by diagnosis, however if you wish to try some self help then massage applied to the site of pain may provide some relief ( get some massage oil and gradually increase the pressure applied over 25 minute sessions, however stop if any worsening in condition or swelling etc as you may be doing more damage - you have been warned). Patellar tendonitis and or IT band are certainly a possibility.

Your location is not on your profile but since you are climbing in the peak you could try Global Therapies in Glossop - they seem to have sports injury experience. 

Really jealous of a season in BC BTW, enjoy the powder

Roli - on 18 Nov 2018
In reply to summo:

I have 57 year old knees that live in Preston Lancs most of the time that have suffered skiing and other injuries. Who is the local joint practice that you refer to please?

summo on 19 Nov 2018
summo on 19 Nov 2018
In reply to Roli:

I should have added they are partnered with another branch in Worsley. Have a look or give them a call and I'm sure they will tell which staff or place suits you best. They are all high calibre staff anyway.


David Rose - on 23 Nov 2018
In reply to Harry Cook:

First, stop running. It's a high impact activity that is particularly stressful on knees. Try cycling, or summit trainer type machines at the local gym, which give a good aerobic workout with low impact.

I'm 59. I had steadily worsening pain in my right knee for a number of years. It was similar to what you describe. I suspect it started with a rock-climbing fall when I greased off a slab above an overlap and smashed into the slab below it with some force, my knee taking the main impact. I've also done a lot of caving, which maybe didn't help.

In 2016, I had pain for weeks after a skiing trip. Later that year I went on a fairly demanding caving expedition in the Picos de Europa, and it got worse. I managed to get an MRI scan on the NHS. The consultant told me I had arthritis. Eventually I would need a knee replacement, but he urged me to delay this as long as possible with painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, because knee replacements don't last forever and it's difficult to repeat them. This was depressing. I thought my energetic days might be over. 

Then I discovered Turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory which, unlike Ibuprofen, doesn't damage the stomach. I find the product linked to below especially effective: it contains a high concentration of curcuminoids, the active compounds in the natural root, and a pepper extract which means more is absorbed by the body. Since I started taking them I've skied, climbed and done some very serious exploratory caving. My knee is not perfect, but it is much better than I ever dared think might be possible two years ago. I don't need painkillers or any kind of support bandage, though I do carry one on multi-day deep caving trips.

I don't think this is a placebo effect, because in the summer of 2017, I forgot to re-order the capsules and then went on a family holiday to Canada. Ten days in my knee was really painful. Once I got home and resumed the capsules, it went back to its former state.

So: it works for me. This is the stuff:


The other thing you should do is quad exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Ski wall sits are very effective. So are squats.

Post edited at 08:59

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