Triathlete With Knee Pain

by: Eric Oliver, PT

Background  

CLIENT is a triathlete actively training for both a 70.3 (half-Ironman) and 140.6 (full Ironman) triathlon.  His run training had been hampered for several weeks due to a chronically recurring pain in both his knees.  He had sought help elsewhere but without complete resolution of the problem.  CLIENT has had his running mechanics evaluated elsewhere.

Exam Results

CLIENT was found to exhibit symptoms of inflammation of his patellar tendons, otherwise known as patellar tendinitis or "jumper's knee".  Strength was not an issue in the muscles of his hips or knees.  It was found that he did have tissue mobility restrictions in his thighs.  Additionally, slow motion video analysis showed him to have a long step length and low step cadence (steps per minute).

CLIENT finishing 2nd in his age-group recently.  Ran pain-free.

CLIENT finishing 2nd in his age-group recently.  Ran pain-free.

Outcome

CLIENT was given home exercises to normalize the mobility and flexibility of his quadriceps.  He was also given specific running drills to facilitate a lower impact force to the knee as well as resistance exercises to prepare his body for the changes in his running form.  He was also given personalized technique coaching on the treadmill and was guided with how to implement the changes in his current training cycle so as to not cause other injuries.  

CLIENT is now running pain-free and is back on track to preparing for his upcoming 70.3 triathlon in late August.

plan

CLIENT has been instructed to gradually build mileage leading up to 70.3.  His physical therapist (triathlon/run specialist) is not only guiding him in the management of his injury but also facilitating his training progression so as to not overly stress his muscle/tendon tissue, while at the same time maximizing his body's tolerance to an appropriate mileage build-up that will prepare him for his races.  

CLIENT has also joined our triathlon-specific group strength training sessions on Thursday evenings to further enhance his training.