Fourth Piece: High-Tech Nutrition
Remarkably, doctors still do not know exactly what patellofemoral pain syndrome is. They used to think it was chondromalacia, or damage to the knee cartilage, but many runners with chondromalacia run pain-free, and many runners with knee pain don’t have chondromalacia. (I actually had cartilage-repair surgery on my bad knee and it did absolutely nothing to reduce pain or improve function.) The latest theory is that runner’s knee is caused by failure to fully repair between runs trauma suffered by the patella and the fat pad underneath it during runs, so that damage accumulates. Every runner experiences such trauma in every run, but some runners (especially those who overstride and have weak hip abductors) incur more than others, and the more you run, the less likely it is that the affected tissues will achieve complete homeostasis between runs.
By changing my shoes, strengthening my hip abductors, and retraining my gait, I succeeded in reducing the amount of damage my right knee experienced during any given run. Thus I was able to run more before the pain became debilitating. But I still wasn’t able to run enough. The final piece of the puzzle I needed was some means of repairing the damage more quickly between runs. I found this puzzle piece in a special supplement called hyperimmunized milk factor (HIMF). HIMF is a collection of anti-inflammatory proteins derived from cow’s milk. By reducing post-workout inflammation, it facilitates faster tissue repair in athletes in whom inflammation has become chronic. Within three weeks of beginning to take a daily HIMF supplement I noticed a marked reduction in knee pain and was able to run 20 miles for the first time in 4 years. A month later I ran my marathon. The puzzle was complete.
About The Author:
Matt Fitzgerald is the author of Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run (VeloPress 2011) and a Coach and Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. Find out more at mattfitzgerald.org.