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I have a bone to pick with my right knee

by Meghann on September 21, 2012

So I have a bone to pick with my right knee.

You see*knock on wood* I’ve been a runner for almost 5 years (since January 2008 to be exact!) and have only had one minor issue with my knee following my first marathon in 2009 (though I’d hate to say that was a real knee injury because it involved the back of my leg, which really had nothing to do with my knee since the pain was nowhere near the knee cap or muscles directly surrounding it, the pain just stayed in the area in the back of the leg that’s directly behind it) and one other time when I had to get stitches following a bike accident (as soon as the stitches came out, I was good to go). To say I’ve been lucky is a complete understatement. I’m not sure what I’m doing differently than any other runner out there, but talking about it makes me nervous. I usually keep my mouth shut about it for fear that I’m going to jinx myself and will suddenly be out for the count.

*knocks on more wood*

So after being relatively injury free as a runner (where knee injuries are about as common as race bibs), only I would mess up my knee while swimming. Yes, swimming. Somehow, some way, my right knee has been bothering me in the pool. What the heck?

It started the other week when I felt a weird pain after a funky kick. I think my knee was bent as I was kicking and I did something to it. I stopped my set to stretch it out and, after 5 minutes of babying the knee out of the water, I went back in and was able to do an easy 50 without a problem. I went running, lifted weights, etc. over the next week and sort of forgot what happened.

Then this morning we were doing sets of 50 @ 1:15 at a steady pace and gradually I could feel that something with my right knee wasn’t right. I wouldn’t call it a sharp pain – or pain really – I would just say that it felt uncomfortable, like something I should not be feeling. It started pretty dim, but built up and eventually I had to stop. After a few minutes of rest, my knee felt right again. I continued for a couple of 100s, but the same gradual build-up of a numb pain with my knee was happening again.

I asked my coach and he said that I was probably bending my knees when kicking, which is strange because I’m known for having a good straight kick (my stroke, on the other hand, is a whole other story). Though, I’m not disagreeing with him, I mean that’s the only thing that makes sense for what I was feeling.

Right now my knee feels fine. *knocking the hell out of some wood* I have a brick scheduled for tomorrow, if something doesn’t feel right, I’ll stop and decided from there where to go. Right now I’m just plain puzzled. I mean, who hurts their knee while swimming?! Sigh.

Any advice for random swimming knee injuries?

In other news, my post-swim breakfast was delish.

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HOT pumpkin oats in a jar.

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In the oats:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin

Everything else:

  • peanut butter
  • pear
  • more cinnamon

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I <3 pumpkin!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hmmm I don’t know what to tell you, maybe see a physical therapist if it continues to feel weird? Better to get it checked out now rather than closer to your tri!
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2 Allison September 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

O I’m so sorry. Injuries scare me so bad
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3 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale September 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

I had knee issues when I was swimming in high school. It arose from attempting too much breaststroke, I’m horribly bad at the kick. I stuck to freestyle and back stroke after that. I wore a brace for a bit and it helped … it was heavy, but it helped keep everything in line.
Be careful when you’re doing your turns as well, it might not just be your stroke, but your kick off the wall.
Physio is something I would look into as well — it might be alignment, which they could diagnose.
Take care of yourself and recupe! Knees can plague you for years if you’re not careful!! Best of luck! :)
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4 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’d definitely get a professional opinion – better to get it checked out now than wait until it gets worse!
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5 Laura September 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

I didn’t even know you could get a kneww injury in the water. lol. Sorry! I hope it heals up and doesn’t continue to give you trouble.
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6 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer September 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

Just keep mindful of it and see if it is still bothering you. Also- Pumpkin oats? YUM!
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7 Abby September 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

Oh no! I’d see how your brick workout goes then have it checked! I had a nagging knee problem when running, it only hurt at the beginning then the pain wold go away. One day it didn’t go away and I limped home! Had it checked out and an MRI later I have a bone bruise in my knee. I switched running shoes (from Vibrams to a regular running shoe with inserts) and it changed my gait for the worse. Haven’t run in 3 months! :/ I even dream about running! So please get it checked if it still bothers you!!!
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8 Em September 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

I’ve felt tweaks in my knee the few times I’ve swam laps but don’t usually have any issues while running and biking. I have no idea but my issue is likely form since I don’t swim often.

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9 Emily N September 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

I also <3 pumpkin. I baked with it last night!
Emily N recently posted..Yesterday’s Accidental Half Marathon

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10 Lindsay September 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

I swam competitively for well over a decade and while I had plenty of shoulder problems (yay, tendonitis!), I can’t say I ever had knee problems. The only thing I could think of (and this is going waayyy out on a limb), is, are you kicking too hard and hyper extending your knee maybe?

I would definitely get it checked out! Injuries suck, but it’s always better to know what’s up so you can take care of yourself properly. :) Good luck!
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11 emily b September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

That’s what I was going to suggest–hyperextending it would cause a build-up of pain. Or if you’re tensing up your legs too much when you’re kicking, you could be putting stress on your knees.

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12 Kate September 21, 2012 at 11:52 am

If it makes you feel any better, I had to go to urgent care for x-rays this week after a foot injury at a TRAMPOLINE PARK. I’m 27. It was so not cool (but not broken!). :)

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13 Grace @ Grace Dishes September 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

When I swam this summer, I had a weird sensation on my knee too at one point. I had a massage where the masseuse focused on the knee area and it really helped though it was uncomfortable in that area?

Hope everything works out!
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14 Natalie @ Free Range Human September 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

I hope it’s not runner’s knee. I have a case of that and it can be really painful.
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15 Meghan @ After the Ivy League September 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I’ll knock on wood for you too! Injuries are beyond frustrating, hopefully it was just an off day!
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16 Megan September 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Hey Meghann,

I swam competitively through college and actually had knee surgery my senior year to clean out a torn meniscus. I was a runner in high school (and returned to the sport after college) but at the time I messed up my knee I was swimming exclusively. I first noticed my injury when I had some sharp pain when doing backstroke starts, but ignored it since it was the end of the season. I eventually got it fixed about 6 months later at which point I could barely walk up or down hills without wanting to cry.

You might want to make sure you have proper form on your turns. Are you doing flip turns or open turns most of the time? Whichever type you’re using, if you’re turning your upper body in the same direction every time, you might be twisting your knees and grinding down on your meniscus with each turn. This is pretty easy to correct in flip turns, just make sure you’re on your back looking up at the sky until your toes come off the wall. Then rotate your body to your stomach when you’re kicking underwater. I don’t know the best way to avoid this with open turns.

I hope this helps. Good luck! I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

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17 Meghann September 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thank you, Megan! This was really helpful.

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18 Brooke September 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

I haven’t swum competitively for years, but when tumble turning (that’s what we call it in Australia!) I always landed my feet sideways on the wall, so one shoulder was pointing at the sky, ther other down to the bottom of the pool. Then there was little rotation to be done once i pushed off the wall. Perhaps you could try that as, if you are grinding your knee on the turn, it might be becase you have to much rotation to do once you push off. if you land sideways on the wall, you’ll have less rotation and thus may be less inclined to start the rotation before you’ve pushed off or during your push…

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19 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian September 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Best of luck with the knee injury! I am battling a knee injury now actually, had an MRI today. My doctor couldn’t really give me an answer and just said it was probably from being constantly in training for some sort of race since December of last year. Overuse. I’m still running and it’s getting better, but PT has helped a lot. I can’t offer insight into swimming injuries, but I’d suggest PT if it continues. The therapists are so knowledgeable, they can give you other exercises to strengthen other parts of the body that may be compensating.
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20 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Ugh, that sucks! Usually runners with knee problems swim to give their joints a rest! Go figure. Hope you’re feeling 100% soon!
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21 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Definitely be careful with it! I’ve had several knee injuries and knee surgeries. So rest, elevate and def see a doctor or physical therapist if it doesn’t get better soon.
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22 Lauren September 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

This sounds weird, but does it feel like there is something in the knee, like water or pressure? I had the same thing happen and overtime, I’m sad to say it got worse. But I ignored it, which is so stupid. Definitely take care of yourself. I would say try running (easy) one more time and if it’s still there, get it checked out or take a week or two off. I know it sucks but trust me, it’s the only way to move forward without it getting worse.
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23 Oceanside Chiropractor October 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

Perhaps the knee problem stems from the older injury? Anyways, that snack looks delicious! I’ve never paired my pears with anything, but I’m tempted to try this for an easy but filling breakfast.

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