Knees are (not) good, knees are (not) good…


I'm new to the C25K plan. I was absolutely loving it until the end of week two but I've been on the sofa since Friday morning as both my knees are banjaxed. (The sofa and I are now one and we plan to announce our engagement shortly.)

I'd been doing warm-up and warm-down exercises and taking the runs very slow and steady and light, so I was doing it all right and everything. About two thirds of the way through my run on Friday, I felt a twinge, not actual stabby pain, about two inches under the knee on the insides of both legs, but I carried on. Well, that was a terrible error. My five minute walk home afterwards took me three times that long and there were many tears and swears as I hobbled home.

There is no swelling and only a tiny bit of pain when I touch the affected leg bits. I did the RICE and no HARM shenanigans all weekend but there's been next to no improvement. I can't walk around the house without holding onto things for support and I'm having to go up our spiral staircase like a sad old cat, which my actual young and nimble cat thinks is some kind of hilarious funtime game.

I spoke to the doctor yesterday. He reckons it's pes anserine bursitis in both legs. Basically, when I put weight on them, the tops of my tibiae feel like they're being stabbed with red hot daggers and it makes me feel like my legs are about to go full Shakin' Stevens.

Long wafflesome story short: my quads are weak. I'm about a stone overweight and I'm nearly 40. C25K was my way of doing a fit thing and I was really enjoying it. Like *proper* enjoying it to the point where I run along grinning like a weirdo, occasionally arm dancing to Lady Gaga and talking back to Sarah Millican as she chats to me in the app. Even in the rain.

Don't be thinking this is a doom and gloom post, though. I'm absolutely determined to get back to the plan when my bursa sac things are all better. (Bursa Sac sounds like a bounty hunter from a planet in the Ryloth system.) The doctor was fully aware of C25K and he gave me some really good advice. He says that I mustn't let this put me off and that it's quite common in new runners, especially not-really-very-fit-and-active-40-ish women. His advice was to get my legs totally better, then do leg strengthening exercises—quaddy ones like squats and lunges—then to make sure I have the correct footwear, and then to restart the plan, doing each of the first few weeks twice, to really get my legs and body used to this running thing.

In the meantime, it's rest and staying off my legs as much as I possibly can for about a fortnight, accompanied by icing my legs and taking ibuprofen. I think my legs feel slightly better today than they did yesterday. I will flippin' do this!

I've been lurking here but I've picked up a lot of tips by searching and reading, and the posts are very encouraging and helpful – thank you for that. I thought I'd post this in case it is helpful to anyone in the same position as I am right now.

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53 Replies

  • Hi, I have a similar problem in my left knee , not as bad as yours. Hope you are back running/ smiling in the rain soon. Excellent post. Take care. 😁

  • Thank you, Martin! It's flipping painful, isn't it? I hope yours is better soon too.

  • Well done on keeping your great sense of humour as you sit on your sofa - congratualtions on the engagement, by the way.

    I wish you a speedy recovery.

  • Thank you ever so much. My husband doesn't know about me and Sofa yet…

  • No need to tell him. It can be our secret. Or have you thought of a menage a trois?

  • Saucy

  • So you and the sofa an item then? You better tune in from time to time to Mr Smooth, just to keep the sofa on his toes, you don't want him not having to make an effort to keep you...

    BTW small secret sheps also had a sofa thing.. Justsayin'

  • Ha! Yeah, Sofa just gets me, y'know? I can really lean on him for support and he's a really good listener.

  • Aaah Ims, sorry to hear of your knee pain😯. Your doc sounds very supportive though which is you have a game plan and know you will be back better than before once your better.

    In the meantime spend some quality time with the it won't be seeing so much of you in a few weeks.😊

    Get better soon.x

  • Thank you, Jan! Much appreciated. I am determined to do this.

  • Hi, I thought this was supposed to make you fit! So far I've had two huge blisters, twinges in both knees, a pain in the hip and a dodgy ankle and I've just finished week 2!?! Hope you get on to week 3 asap. Good luck. By the way, don't do the Shakin' Stevens, do the Elvis Presley - far cooler :)

  • Shakey would disagree with you there.

    And I know right? You try and do a good thing and then bad things happen. But hey, think how good we'll feel when we actually finish the plan. I mean, I already feel like me and Mo Farah could be best friends, y'know, and the only work of his I am familiar with is the Quorn adverts.

    Best of luck with the running. 😀

  • Thank you.

    I haven't seen those adverts - are they the ones on your feet or the vegetarian alternative? I always thought he was sponsored by McDonalds though with his golden arches symbol thing he does. The man with the golden arches!

    All the best with the recovery - come on! We can do it :)

  • Ha! The vegetarian stuff. He used to say "It's not just a healthy source of protein" a lot.

    And of course we can. I have faith in us, Neil.

  • Ha ha Neil! You are so right! Just go slowly and hopefully avoid painful body parts

  • Sorry to hear about your pains, but hey, at least you met the love of your life!

    I suffered with similar pains when i started, but slowing it down, and getting the right trainers worked wonders for me!

    Only thing you need to worry about now, is how to explain the the sofa why your always so sweaty and out of breath all the time!

  • Thanks, Scott. Yeah, I think I'm going to go and have a gait analysis done when my legs are better. I just want this whole sofa thing to be a fling, really.

  • Woah - slow down, have you considered sofa's feelings in all this?

    There must be a way you can have your cake and eat it...ooh, cake!

  • You're right. I'll have a talk with Sofa. Soon.

  • Skwaats. Always. Now and forever.

  • *salutes* I've never spoken to you before now but I've seen you post here lots and in my head I think of you as Skwaatman.

    So yes. Squats. I will do them. Promise.

  • I will be checking.

  • Noted

  • Going slowly is always our advice but whether folks take it is another matter 🙂

    Your doctor sounds a diamond. Usually they are quite unhelpful. Mine is anti running 🙄

    Ice is brilliant., ice when you can. Whilever on the couch get the ice on. The anti inflammatory take a while to kick in

    Good luck. When you do get back on please go slowly 🙂💪🏃‍♀️✔️👍

    I do Jillian Michaels strength stuff on DVD 💪😃

  • Thank you! Yes, I have gel ice packs on my legs as I type. And I promise I will take it slow. I will think slow and go even slower – slugs will overtake me.

    I've been quite astonished at the amount of friends and family who've said to me "Give up. Running is bad for you." Like cheers, people, your encouragement is really motivational.

  • I had the same injury a couple of years back. It's quite painful. It does get better- I had no issues a few months after getting it- but you need some dedicated time off for stretching, strengthening and using the foam roller. Once you start back up, ice that knee after every run for a bit.

    You'll get there. Keep coming back here, read some running biographies, watch some running documentaries.

  • It is indeed painful – I have done a LOT of crying these past few days.

    Yes, I'm not putting any date on when I'll restart the plan. I'm just going to listen to my knees and concentrate on building up my leg muscles. Then I plan to take it so slowly I'll almost be going backwards.

    Thank you very much for the advice and encouragement. 🙂

  • Yes, slow is the way to go. My approach since having it is to run and build distances for 3-4 weeks, then to drop down for a short distance easy week to have a lesser running load before picking back up again. This has worked wonders for me.

  • That sounds like an excellent idea. Noted.

  • Knee pain happens a lot when first starting, my wife had it in w3 took some days rest and pain faded away, was fine after that, but yes, best to get gait & shoes checked out.

    I do body weight wall squats (skwaats) which I find beneficial..

  • Hello and thank you. I was doing wall squats as part of my warm up. You can really feel those working as you're doing them, can't you?

  • In ancient myths my name would be The God of Easily Injured Knees. I feel for you, the pain sounds so familiar. I made two mistakes: 1. I didn't assess my joints and my footwear before l decided to start running. That cost me three months away from the park. 2. I blindly trusted my GP, who (it turned out) was wrong, sent me out there before l was ready, and that was another few months out for me. Please seek advice, second or third if your gut feeling tells you, follow the treatment, trust and listen to your body, don't push or rush. I wish you all the best :)

  • I will absolutely do what you have said. I quite like my knees and I like them even better when they're working properly. I'm not in any rush to do this and I fully intend to go ever so careful.

    And yes, I agree – I know we are told to speak to the GP before doing the plan but I honestly think some kind of gait analysis or biomechanical assessment would be way more beneficial at the start. And perhaps a couple of weeks of leg-strengthening exercises before even starting week one.

    We live and learn, eh?

  • My first reaction is shoes...........are you wearing running shoes?

    As others have said a gait analysis at a reputable running shop, not a discount sportswear shed, will check how you run and advise on appropriate footwear for your specific running style.

    After heard the Squatmeister..............squats to strengthen your knees.

  • Trainers but not actual running ones. Skechers memory foam ones. They have no arch support which I reckon might be part of the problem. I was actually supposed to buy proper running shoes this weekend just gone. Left that too late, didn't I? Never had arch support problems in the past, but then I haven't done running since I was at school.

    This is a huge learning curve. I'm actually really annoyed at myself.

    I see many squats ahead. Many. Once I can walk without swearing…

  • Waves of sympathy coming your way.

  • Thank you. They are much appreciated.

  • I bet its the shoes :) I run in our local woods and fields and got shin splints,aching knees and a pulled Achilles tendon.Bought some decent trail trainers (adidas Men’s Kanadia 7 Tr Gtx ) and now no more aches, unless I over do it but then you learn to ease off a bit ;)

  • The shoes are definitely a factor, yes. I've also gone from zero running ever to some running and my legs clearly need strengthening to help take the strain off my knees. The doctor said that women can get knee troubles because of the width of our pelvises/hips, so yeah, it's a combination of factors, shoes being one of them. I'm running on a very flat, smooth path along the busway route we have here.

  • You don't have any parks or fields near you as running/jogging on the grass will be more gentle on your joints than the pavement. But clearly you need some trainers with a lot of cushioning to take the shock instead of your knees.

  • Hi,when I started I had this problem in one knee I thought that was it. I carried one and it has cleared up . So I say keep on it will clear up .

  • Good to know! Thank you.

  • Sounds like you got a doctor that knows what he's taking about. Good advice there. I'm having some knee problems myself but in my case I think it's more job related first and running second. Ended up buying compression bandages and wear them after running. Hope you do get better and carry on with the program. 👍

  • Thank you, Euan. I hope your knee problems improve. Good luck with your running. 🙂

  • I also had problems with both knees in week 2 - I put it down to being overenthusiastic and going too fast! This was back in May- I rested up totally for three weeks because it was so painful. Then I went on a planned walking holiday (!) - but just did gentle, slow walks on the flat while my companion tackled the mountain hauls. This worked a treat as gentle physio. Returning from my holiday I restarted the C25k program -VERY gently and slowly - and am now on week 7, no pain, loving it! I'm 56, btw... You can do this!

  • Yes! This is what I like to hear. Thank you, Jeani. I'm so glad you overcame your knee troubles and that you're into week seven. Really pleased you're loving it! 😀

  • Everyone said I was mad to try running -glad I didn't listen! Remember ... SLOW. Take your time to get your knees better.

  • Yes, people have said that to me too. I've found that when I'm running my brain is 100% focused on running. It's the only thing I've ever done that allows me to switch all other thoughts off. That sounds very hippy, but it's a very freeing thing. I don't think the naysayers get that.

    And I intend to go SO slow I'll almost be walking. I shall think slow and then go slower.

  • I had similar problem at end of W1 had to rest up for the week. I used rice and a massage stick. I use massage stick before and after runs now. Do not give up I am 42 and 19st. With running and WW I am starting to feel good again.

  • I will not give up. I'm a stubborn human! Thank you, though. It's great to hear that other people have got over similar issues. All the best with WW and the running. 😀

  • I experienced similar in week 2 (very recently) and found Martin Koban's email course invaluable. His advice seems to have worked to get me back on track. I think I only had the beginnings of a knee tendon injury, so haven't had to stop the running (shuffling) for too long. I fully recommend giving him a go - I was sceptical about spam etc. But no problems so far.

  • Thank you very much. I'll check it out.

    Glad you're back on track!

  • Cheers & happy healing 😁

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