Ask the Sports Doc: Knees and shins

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2009

VP asks: I am a 43-year-old male with right-knee pain. I have pain in the front of the knee. It hurts when I run on the treadmill. My shin hurts, as well, every time I run. It is better when I stop running.

Dr. Patel writes: Dear VP, it seems you may actually have two different things going on with your knee.

The knee pain in the front of the knee could be due to weakness in the quadriceps tendon. If the quadriceps tendon is weak, this can cause the kneecap to have higher pressures when the knee bends.

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This, in turn, can cause pain in the front of the knee and can cause cartilage problems on the surface of the kneecap, called chondromalacia of the patella.

Strengthening the quadriceps muscle can help resolve this pain. Instead of running, you may want to try a stationary bike or an elliptical machine to help with your quadriceps muscle.

The second pain related to your shin sounds as though you may have shin splints. Shin splints occur when there are stresses across the front of the tibia, which then causes either a stress fracture or inflammation of the soft tissue lining.

A lot of the pain can be alleviated with rest from running for a couple of weeks, then gradually getting back into the exercise routine. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medicine can help with the pain. Also, avoid running on any hard surfaces.

One of the best exercises I have found that helps the lower extremities while getting a good cardio workout is spinning. I personally go to spinning class and found it to be very beneficial for the quadriceps and hamstrings. I also get a great cardio workout.