Couch to 5K
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Knee trouble making me want to quit :-(

Hi all

I graduated about 2 months ago and have slowly started to work up to 10k. Got to 8k a few weeks ago but then had a sore knee and tried to pull back a bit.

Did RICE and wore compression bandage next run and started back at 5k - knee ok - then did 6k and woke up with really stiff sore knee next day!

Haven't run for a week now and have been doing the knee strengthening exercises since and a lot of walking but put off running and nervous to go out again, feel so demotivated, was so close to 10k and was going to sign up for a run but feel what's the point now.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated :-(

17 Replies

Hi Purplesparkle, sorry, I have no advice, you are doing everything I would have suggested already. I've just finished week 4 and my knees are starting to twinge already...

Hmm maybe just a bit of advice to consider, see a sports physiotherapist for advice. Go for gait analysis and consider new trainers. Ask your Dr if it would be advisable to take a NSAID (eg ibuprofen) whilst you are resting to reduce any inflammation and promote healing.

Hope your knees get better. x


Hi m'dear. I've been out for about 6weeks now with knee trouble. Go see a physio is the best advice I can give you. I am very very slowly on the mend I think but still fragile. Personally I would rest as much as I could. My physio said quad strengthening exercises are the key and are essential for all runners. When I said I was going to start walking he told me not to. A static bike at the gym, set to low impact, is good, or cycling in general, as long as you're not tackling lots of hills. Swimming is also good, but not breast stroke. I've noticed that walking down hill will cause knee pain at the moment, even if I've been fine for a couple of days. So rest, a good physio, quad exercises and patience are my top tips. Good luck :)


I graduated in January and have been running reasonably regularly since then. When I first started my knees were agony (hence my name!) and then settled until I trained for 10k - I tried to do too much too soon for my ageing body! I nearly gave up.

I now do loads of squats etc. and always have a rest day in between runs. It's hilly where I run too which I think strengthens the knees. But like you I was on the verge of giving up but have been absolutely fine for a few months now.


Although I am no where near as far as you with running and fitness. I did suffer with a bad knee for a while, I just done all what you have already done and it is now a lot better m, I always run now with a knee support plus I bought a new pair of running trainers after having my gait analysed too. Good luck. I hope your knee feels better soon


Yeah, I'm wondering about the 'lots of walking' And the starting back at 5K.

Can you make sure you are running on more knee friendly surfaces?


So sorry to hear of your knee woes but I wanted to say please don't give up. It took me nearly a year to get through the programme because of knee problems, but I got them fixed with time and patience and feel I have improved my health and my knees in the long term. I agree with the suggestions to see a sports physio and I would also ask your doctor to refer you to a knee or sports specialist doctor. I saw one who identified the problem very quickly and set me on the road to recovery which involved physio, insoles (podiatrist who can do a gait analysis) and patience as I built up. Good luck.


I'm currently in a similar position as yourself. Having a problem with my knee. Started RICE and taking ibuprofen and haven't ran since Monday and don't intend to until next Monday. Problem is I'm due to run the Middlesbrough 10k on the 31st! I'm really hoping it settles down by then but my training/build up has been put on hold so not ideal!


Thanks all! Really appreciate the support :-)

I got gait analysis and new running shoes at week 4 of c25k and they seemed fine but I run on a road most of the time so maybe it's the hard surfaces?

For those recommending sports physio, is that expensive or can you get that through NHS?

I saw some shock absorbing insoles when I was buying trainers and wondered if anyone had used anything similar and would recommend them?

I have to do quite a bit of walking as I have a dog so can't have complete rest though it's never sore walking only when I've run over 5k and then it's after the run it hurts and just the left knee.

Will definitely keep up the strengthening exercises as sounds like people have found they make a real difference! Never thought of ibuprofen either binkibelle, do you take between runs or for a run?

Good luck for your 10k Paul, hope your knee improves for then!

Thanks again everyone, advice isixh appreciated!


My physio costs £35 per session and is worth every penny. We have health insurance from husbands work so didn't wait for an NHS referral. I also wanted to guarantee seeing someone with a special interest in sports injuries and running in particular. I think KittyKat uses shock absorbing insoles when she runs and I certainly will when I get back to running. Hope this helps.


I pay to go to a private sports physiotherapist. She charged £35 for the initial (longer) consultation and £30 for subsequent visits. Well worth the cost in my opinion. Although you are doing the right thing with RICE, the cause of the knee pain may not in fact be the knee (eg in the case of IT band issues) and a physio will be able to diagnose this and treat the source of the trouble.


As you've had gait analysis and shoes to suit already (assuming they did it properly) I won't advise that... that's what sorted out most of my knee problems it seems... also, it started when I upped my mileage too much...

In terms of "what to do now", I found the following to help when I have twinges and feel a bit sore:

1) 10-15 minutes warm up and cool down (walking 15 minutes after running helps a LOT)...

2) Ice, always...

3) Deep heat overnight...

4) Tubigrip on during the day... this stuff is AMAZING.... compression bandage and can really help...

As others have said though, getting a professional opinion is a good idea...

Feel better soon!


Might be worth a trip to GP as well. When I got a sore knee early on he thought I'd probably just overdone things, but sent me for a x-ray "just in case there is an underlying problem". Well, it turned out that there is an underlying problem (misaligned kneecaps causing moderate osteo-arthritis) but knowing about it was the first step in dealing with it (in my case special insoles that realign my kneecaps so they don't rub in the wrong place any more). Not saying you will turn out to have this sort of problem but its worth checking.

(Thanks to c25k, for the first time in my adult life I don't have constant knee pain, which is rather wonderful.)


Thank you, I will really think through the sports physio, not sure about being able to pay for many sessions but if it's going to be the solution then might have to find a way to pay.

I will try your tips Aussie, thank you!

It's frustrating as was fine the whole program and then after doing an 8k it was suddenly sore, wondered if pushed too hard too soon.

Eek ajwyld I hope it's nothing like that! Although it sounds like for you it was good to get that diagnosed and sorted? I am 30 this year and have never run before so could it be there's always been a problem there and running has highlighted it I wonder?

Thanks again everyone I appreciate all the advice and will take everything on board :-)


Thanks kittykat I missed your reply! I'm going to go have a look in sports shops tomorrow for insoles and give some a try - nothing to lose!

Going to cut right back to 3k and build up slowly again and continue strengthening exercises. Will try get a GP appointment next week too, see what they say about diagnosis/treatment.

It's a setback! All the advice on here has made me feel so much more positive though, thank you!


I had bad knees some months ago, and ended up not running for weeks. Then took it easy when I started again, and that seemed to do the trick, so that I'm now running faster and longer than before the pains. So I'm afraid I can't add anything to what has already been said about cutting down on the distance, giving yourself time to heal, and maybe finding gentler ground to run on.

All the best. I hope it improves soon.


I had bad knees some months ago, and ended up not running for weeks. Then took it easy when I started again, and that seemed to do the trick, so that I'm now running faster and longer than before the pains. So I'm afraid I can't add anything to what has already been said about cutting down on the distance, giving yourself time to heal, and maybe finding gentler ground to run on.

All the best. I hope it improves soon.


Sorry to hear about your pain! It's a real setback but it doesn't mean the end of your running.

I couldn't afford physio or anything when I got dragged down by ankle pain. I kept doing proper ankle exercises (that I found online), RICE and all that for weeks, and had to lay off running. I just kept running a bit when I could. I started doing exercise at home and I found that by doing so I just built myself up stronger and stronger. I got a Jillian Michaels DVD as it was cheap off Amazon. Kept at it and I've never looked back. We have to be strong enough to support our running. I think we try and do too much on bodies that aren't fully ready

So don't be too downhearted. As you say you have to walk anyway, which is good. Swimming and cycling are good to.

Good luck. I hope you'll be better real soon


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