Long post alert - though I think it's worth it!
I thought it might be helpful to the runners and aspiring runners here to share my experience today.
I started C25K on 26th January this year. I'd never run seriously before (I'm 58). I took what I thought was the smart move to go and get my gait analysed before starting, as I know I have flat feet, and yes, it was confirmed I over pronated, and I got some running shoes with support. They felt comfortable.
Nine weeks later, I graduated. On my first run after that, at the end of the run, as I slowed to a walk, I had a sudden pain on the inside of my left knee. I hobbled home and iced it. Although I wasn't going to be stupid and risk damage, I didn't want to stop running, so I got some tubular bandage and went on an exploratory run with the knee supported a couple of days later. It seemed to work, and I've been running with knee support since, without any real trouble, though I do often feel a bit of tightness on that spot. I moved onto a more purpose made support with velcro fastening. Since graduating, I've been running three, four, and lately five times a week, mixing 5k and 10k runs, sometimes further, some 30-40km a week. I ran an organised 10k race a couple of weeks ago, and am signed up for the Oxford HM in October.
Last Thursday, during my morning run, I started to get sharp stabbing pain on the kneecap of my the other knee - bummer! It wasn't consistent, and I did carefully run it off. At the Parkrun on Saturday, it was hurting me during warmup. I moved the knee support from left to right knee, and started the run prepared to abort if it hurt, but it didn't, and I had a decent run.
I decided, though, that it might be prudent to get some expert advice about my knees and how to manage them. The last thing I want to do is get injured and have to stop running for a spell. Off to my local osteopath who specialises in sports injuries. A very interesting experience.
In summary - my knees are in very good condition. There's nothing wrong with them. Ditto my hips. It's my flat feet. The running shoes provide far too little support, and the feet are causing lateral movement of my knees which the ligaments don't like. He manipulated my legs to check everything out, and worked on the inside of my knees where one of the ligaments is (ouch!)
The knee is a really simple joint. Just a hinge joint with cartilege and four ligaments. The ligaments don't have a blood supply, so when they get damaged, it takes a long time to heal.
Running doesn't exercise the leg muscles (particularly the quads) very much at all, despite what you might think. Muscle condition is important for stability of the joints when you run. As you get older, the muscle bulk naturally reduces. If you want to even stay still with muscle condition, you need to exercise outside your running. I've got a programme for squats to follow, and advice for other things I can incorporate into life to work the quads, like running upstairs.
All in all, that was £76 well spent (including a set of orthotic insoles) I know there's nothing wrong with my hips or my knees, and it's a matter of addressing my (very very) flat feet. I have more confidence in my body, and I understand it better now. First run with the insoles tomorrow!