Couch to 5K
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preventing damage to meniscus?

Hi All,

I'm one of the folks with sore knees. I saw my GP yesterday and he's fairly sure I've damaged my meniscus - although he's sending me for an x-ray to exclude a couple of other things. So, I have anti-inflammatories, and strict instructions to rest until it stops hurting. So my question is, is it realistic to think that after that I can have another go at the programme, or is running just never going to work for me ? Are there things I could do next time around to prevent damage ? (wear knee supports, run on softer surface, do the knee exercises on the site, use insoles ?) I've looked at the NHS page on the subject but its not very helpful. I only got to W3R2, but I was really starting to enjoy it until my knee started hurting.


5 Replies

Hi ajwyld. I had a similar problem when I started the programme. I ran outside the first 2 weeks and by the third week I could hardly walk because my knees were so painful. I never had knee problems before and assumed it was due to running. I didn't see a doctor but I did take a 4 week break from running to get my knees back to normal (which was hard as I had caught the running bug by then!). I then joined a gym as I heard that the treadmill is easier on your knees and I have had no problems since. I hope this helps but you should definitely listen to your doctor and rest until he/she gives you the go ahead to start running again. If you use a treadmill then put it on a slight incline (I use 0.5) as apparently this is better for the knees. I will try running outside again as folks here seem to think it's better, but the first twinge on my knees and I'll be back on the treadmill! Good luck and enjoy the programme.


Have you tried getting your gait analysed? I struggled with week3/week4 as my knees were killing me. I then went to a local running shop where I was told that the trainers I was running in were completely wrong for me so I changed to ones that were more suited to me and since then (touch wood) I've had no problems.


Hi there. I had exactly the same thing at this point in the program. I went to a running shop and came away with expensive shoes having had my gait analyzed. But I was gutted when, the next time I ventured out, I was in agony. I stopped for about two weeks, during which time I took 400mg of ibruprofen a day for a week. For over a week after my last run I moaned like an old lady when going up or down stairs. I did go and see a physiotherapist once, just to check I hadn't done anything really nasty, though by the time I got an appointment I was no longer in pain. She gave me the go ahead to keep trying, as well as some strengthening excersizes , and some post run stretches. When my knees hurt after runs ( as they did, but not as badly) I would sit with frozen peas on my knees for about 10 minutes after stretching. Yesterday I did week 6. Run three. I ran for 25 minutes with no stopping, and for the first time I didn't need ice. I think that perhaps I have muscles where I didn't have them a few weeks ago! Perhaps the knee pain is something you just have to get past. I really did think I would have to stop at about week 3, but now I am running well, and I am running outside. I hope this helps. Good luck. It will be worth it!


The key here is resting while it hurts! Keep icing and take ibuprofen if you can tolerate it. I ignored a small pain (took painkillers and ran anyway for about a week, I was also running 6 days rather than the 3 I should) but then it turned in to a huge pain and I couldn't walk. I'm out for 2-3 months now and will have to start again. Please please don't ignore a pain, it's there for a reason. Beyond that, yes, definitely give it a go again. Do lots of strengthening exercise and stretches once it's pain free.

Lots of luck for a quick recovery

J x


I damaged the ligaments in my left knee 2 years ago in a body pump class. It was very painful and giving way at the time. I had 12 wks of physio and did the strengthening exercises I was given. I was referred to a Podiatrist who said my knee pain was due to over pronation (my feet lean inwards) with supports for my shoes I started C25K programme 6 months later and I am now running 10km regularly with no further knee problems. Don't give in but get some good footwear :)


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