Knee pain when exercising after 3 years of inactivity


Q: Here is a full story to hopefully make things 100% clear so it will be not only easy for you but for me too :). I stopped being physically active around 16 sophmore year. I am 19 now and I am 100% dedicated to get back on my feet and join the United States Airforce. I have been running around 1-3 miles 4-6 days a week and have been using an elliptical at my local gym. I have been really working hard to get myself back in shape I have been working out for the past 3 weeks or so. So it has been around 3 years I would say that I have not been active. I went from 130lbs to 200lbs in 3 years. I am losing weight from being active and eating better. The first week I could run and get tired by using the treadmill and running around my neighborhood. After about a week of running on treadmill and around neighborhood my knees (right knee was first) started to have pain at the joints under the knee cap and I believe all around my knee so like the whole joint. Now they are both that way but they don't hurt if I walk only if I run. If I continue to run the pain will diminish but when I stop the pain returns and goes away after 30mins- 1 hour of resting. The pain from a scale of 1-10 I would say a 4-5. It isn't enough pain to stop me but it is enough to reduce my running speed. I was curious if there was a way to treat it or if I am working too hard too fast from springing back from 3 years of nothing. Could it be that my knees are not used to carrying 60 more lbs of weight added on for running? What exercises would you recommend I try for treatment or should I just take breaks? Using the elliptical I get no knee pains since there is no impact and I can go as long as I can. I am trying to hopefully not have to see a doctor since I don't want the MEPS for the Airforce to Disqualify me for going for a knee pain checkup. Thank you for reading this long concern I really appreciate the free response. Thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon :).


A:   It is a very well known fact that the sustained overweight and lack of exercise can cause problems in the weight bearing joints like Hips, Knees, Ankles and also Lumbar Spine, this seems to be your case, now that you started an exercise routine after some years of inactivity,also should be considered that typically the pain behind the knee with flexion (bend knee) is the most common presentation of the Patellofemoral Syndrome, which is produced by an impairment affecting the patella and femur joint, caused by an unbalanced muscle pull that produced excessive pressure or leverage forces on the patellofemoral joint surfaces.The suggested strategy should be: strengthening and stretching the main muscle of the thigh: quadriceps, to restore the muscle balance around the knee joint, for this is indicated physical therapy for 6 to 8 weeks, using ice packs at the end of the exercise routine to decrease pain and swelling. The use of soft knee braces helps to control patella position and restrict full knee flexion which is good to ease the pain. Also, and very important, the activities or sports that require frequent squatting must be avoided until the pain is under control. If there is a limited response to the treatment and locking or instability of the affected knee is noticed, then an orthopedic surgeon evaluation must be considered.

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