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Monthly Archives: June 2021

More Ouch

In my last post, I wrote about my muscles aching after walking and jogging for the first time in years. Over the next few days, general pain in both knees replaced the muscle aches.

I was delighted that my muscles did not hurt anymore, either during or after exercise. My knees were another story. The aching ceased after I started moving, but the post-exercise pain put an end to my attempts at jogging.

I continued to walk. Over the next few days, the generalised knee pain had narrowed down to two areas: the front and inside of both knees. The inner knees were particularly painful when rising from a chair or getting out of bed and walking.

More research was called for. The Knee Pain Diagnosis page on knee-pain-explained.com is particularly helpful.

The issue in the front of my knees was an occasional pinching pain while walking. Flexing the affected knee a few times resolved that issue. That leads me to think that it is Plica Syndrome.

Plicae are small folds in the synovial membrane, the thin structure that surrounds and lines the knee joint. Knee plica irritation occurs when the plica gets caught or pinched between the knee bones.

I was not very concerned about Plica Syndrome. The pain was minimal and intermittent. The medial knee pain was more worrying. My knees stiffened up. Standing and starting to walk was difficult, and I limped for the first few steps. All that pointed toward Pes Anserine Tendinopathy or Bursitis.

The pes anserine bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac located 2 to 3 inches below the knee joint on the inside of the lower leg. That bursa lies beneath three tendons that attach to thigh muscles and prevents the tendons from rubbing on the tibia.

I don’t have swelling on the inside of the knees. That makes me think that I have tendinopathy rather than bursitis. The tendons and the underlying bursa are irritated, but the bursa is not yet inflamed and swollen.

In either case, the suggested treatment is rest and regular application of ice. I will do both as I do not want to progress from pes anserine tendinopathy to pes anserine bursitis.

After a day without walking, my right knee is virtually pain-free. My left knee is still sore, but the pain has lessened. Positive signs and good reasons to be idle for a few more days.

jj

Ouch

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Image courtesy of trainingcor.com

I ran a lot until I tore the ACL in my right knee. That got me into cycling in 2008. I can count on one hand the number of times I have run since then. A company sports day in about 2014 was the last time I ran fast. That was hard work, and it was only 200 metres.

COVID-19 restrictions in Malaysia prompted my latest attempts at running. Jogging, to be more accurate. The first Movement Control Order in March 2020 banned all outdoor activities. So I walked and jogged up and down the multi-storey car park where I live.

Restrictions were eased in May 2020, and I was back on my bicycle. The only limits were how far away from home I could ride and with how many people in a group. So no jogging since then.

New COVID-19 case counts have risen dramatically since Q4 2020.

Graph courtesy of Ministry of Health Malaysia

In response, the government declared a total lockdown from 1st June 2021. To the chagrin of many cyclists, jogging outdoors is allowed during this full lockdown, but cycling is not. It is not surprising that the government is not allowing cycling. Many riders congregated and rode in large groups, contravening the restrictions in place before the full lockdown.

So out with the cycling shoes.

And on with the running shoes.

There is a convenient 600 metre loop around where I live.

Having covered 12km over the past two days, mostly walking, all I can say is “ouch.” The only muscles that do not hurt as I write are the ones labelled in green.

Graphic courtesy of i.pinimg.com

Which made me wonder why. The same muscles used to pedal are used to walk and jog.

Some internet research enlightened me. Both running and cycling use the gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves to generate power. There is some difference in the degree of muscle recruitment and activation between cycling and running. Though not enough to account for the soreness I feel.

Cycling is regularly touted as an ideal form of exercise because it is a no-impact activity. Running is a high-impact sport. It turns out that is the main reason why I am now sore.

While cycling, my body weight is supported by the bicycle saddle. When running, my joints and muscles work much harder to support my body weight. The striding motion of running puts more stress on the gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings than does the circular motion of pedalling. The small muscles like the hip flexors, extensor hallucis longus, and tibialis anterior have to work harder to stabilise the body and maintain balance, especially on uneven ground.

The only leg muscles that don’t hurt are my gastrocnemius and soleus. I suspect they, too, would start to ache if I sprinted rather than jogged. My knees would probably start to complain also.

This full lockdown runs until 14th June. It may be extended beyond that date. So it is walking and jogging for the foreseeable future. I hope my legs get used to the new stresses and strains. I don’t want to be “ouching” for much longer.