Knee and ankle pain: Hi everyone, I have just... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Knee and ankle pain

SquishyBean profile image

Hi everyone,

I have just finished the final run of week 3, however I found it a struggle, not because of stamina, but because of pain in my knees and ankles (which I've had since the second run this week). The pain is not as severe as an injury, but is making me think I need to take it easy to avoid injury or permanent damage. I run on hard pavement, as there aren't really any grassy areas nearby. There is a pebble beach, but it's so much more difficult to run on that I've so far avoided it. I still have a very slight tenderness when walking around but nothing when resting. Does anyone have any advice? Should I stop running until the tenderness goes or power through? Any changes I could make to the way I run? Many thanks

15 Replies
backintime profile image

are you doing stretches after you run? Do you warm up? have you had your gait analysed?

could be lots of things - could just be that your body is getting used to running and is complaining about the sudden onslaught of exercise, lol

I'm sure some of the more experiened runners will comment

SquishyBean profile image
SquishyBeanGraduate in reply to backintime

Thanks for replying. I don't stretch and don't do any warm up or down other than the 5 minute walks built into the programme. I thought stretching was for muscles, not joints? And no, I haven't had my gait analysed. I don't know how I'd go about doing that lol

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to SquishyBean

for some the pre- and post- run walks are enough

but if you're having pain you may need to incorporate some stretching and strengthening exercises until your body gets used to it. You could even do these on your days off from running.

If you're going to carry on running, it may be worth going to a sports shop that does gait analysis and make sure that the shoes you are using are adapted to your gait.

Do not power through it. Pain in joints needs rest. Try and land lightly on your feet to minimise the impact. What shoes are you using?

SquishyBean profile image
SquishyBeanGraduate in reply to SlowLoris

Thanks, I thought this would probably be the case. I'm not sure exactly what kind of trainers I have. I bought them from a sports shop about 4 years ago but they're nothing fancy. I think they were about £25 on sale from £75ish, and it was the price that drew me to them.

It’s worth investing in proper running shoes. Go to a running shop and get fitted. Ignore brand, colour or what you think your shoe size is. If you’re lucky they might have some suitable ones on sale as they change every year.

After that run like you’re sneaking up on someone.

DiscoRunner profile image

Couple of questions - are you running too fast? I found going from a brisk walk to a run I naturally ran faster than the walk. Big mistake! Learning to run slowly was key for me. The other question would be about landing - you should be landing mid foot not on your heel.

Running on a hard surface is easy than running on grass so it’s probably more your technique than the surface.

I run using the Japanese slow jogging technique - it’s a low impact style of running designed to avoid injury. I love this leisurely pace and have all the benefits of running without the pain!

There’s more to this than meets the eye, and the landing and short stride parts are crucial. You can practice the jumping part to get that right & watch a few times. I’ve lost over 5 inches from my waist - and can run for over an hour this way - so I know this works! And here’s the thing - you use as many calories running 5k if you do it fast or slow - it’s the distance that counts not speed! Hope this helps!

SquishyBean profile image
SquishyBeanGraduate in reply to DiscoRunner

I do tend to jog very slowly, and have probably been even slower this week with the pain, so I don't think running to fast is the problem. I'll try to concentrate on landing properly, as I haven't paid attention to that so could be doing it wrong!

mrrun profile image

Cheap shoes, no insoles and gait analysis, all combined, is the sure way to injuries. Whatever money l saved by buying joke trainers l then more then overspent by paying for physio and osteopath treatments once l busted my knee and then ankle. Some of those guys get their mortgages paid by stubborn idiots like me. Once l bought proper shoes, customised insoles (both through gait analysis team) I've been injury free for over 2.5 years and have completed a marathon. Simple choice!

SquishyBean profile image
SquishyBeanGraduate in reply to mrrun

Thank you. I'm definitely going to go and get a gait analysis done now. I think I'll rest my joints up for a week, get some proper shoes and then repeat week 3 the following week. You can't put a price on health/lack of injury!

IannodaTruffe profile image

The guide to the plan includes advice on minimising impact but probably the most important thing is to wear good shoes fitted after a gait analysis done at a specialist running shop. There are links in the guide to advice about shoes. If you have bought running shoes without gait analysis then they may possibly be totally inappropriate for your running style.

Take care, every ache or pain is telling you just have to work out what.

SkiMonday profile image

Hi SB. I found that the NHS Knee exercises for runners helped when my knees were playing up.

SquishyBean profile image

Good news everyone! I rested for a week and a half and the pain went, and yesterday got a gait analysis done. I have significant overpronation, so bought some new, appropriate shoes and went running this morning, and no pain! I went for a week 3 run and it felt about as hard as the first time I did one, so I'm going to complete this week again before moving on. Thanks all for the tips, hopefully I can keep going now and avoid any serious injury!

Rather late on this thread but having bumped into you on one of mine where I also shared about knee pain, I can add my tips.

A good friend of mine who is a retired GP said the best way to protect the knees from injury and to heal the injury was lots of exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the knee: calves , quadriceps and hamstrings in particular. You can get lots of video demos on YouTube by googling exercises for Runner's Knee etc. Things like standing quad stretches, hamstring stretches lunges and squats are good. Wall sits/squats seem to be especially good for runners, where you rest your back on the wall, knees at right angles but nothing underneath. You try to sustain for 20-30 seconds. Only one caution it's not considered good to do static stretches before a run, only after. More dynamic ones should be done before.

I've been finding odd moments during the day to do wall squats, like when waiting for the kettle to boil. It really seems to have paid off (touch wood) and I've had no stiffness or pain at all today after my 30 minute run.

The key is really to strengthen those muscles, and I'm not sure running alone really does that.

Hope this helps! I told my retired GP friend that I'd found some physio exercises for the knee on the NHS website, and she said: "Yes but you have to actually DO them!"

SquishyBean profile image
SquishyBeanGraduate in reply to iain-strachan

Thanks for the tip! I will try to encorporate some more of these into my routine.

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