That Knee Pain Is In Your Knee? You’re Sure?

Kids run around all day, without knee pain!

I was thinking about knee pain, in my vegetable garden!

Knee pain: kids run around all day, without have knee problems.

River, sitting on the fence, is angling to come in my vegetable garden. Her approach is to pepper me with questions! River runs around all day. Never heard her complain of knee pain. Photo by Rick, used with permission.

Knee pain is generally from tight quads or hamstrings, I realized.

Especially in runners with good running technique.

Use your thumb to find the tight spots in your quads,

to recreate the knee pain.

Then roll those spots (gently, kindly, somewhat painfully)

Knee pain: FitOldDog with his rollers.

To reduce your risk of knee pain, get out those rollers, and do the work. Adjust the pressure carefully.

“Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.”

Lao-tzu, translation by Steven Mitchell.

I bet Lao-tzu stretched a lot, don’t you?

I was in my garden today, and River was working on me again. To come in and help. But I am very protective of my garden. It’s my therapy – a calm place, to watch all that lovely vegan food grow. Am I a grumpy old man? Yes! When it comes to protecting my vegetables.

Later, as I was weeding, I remembered River’s visit, and thought, “Wait a minute. Kids run around all day, and they almost never complain about knee pain.” Then I thought, “Damn, I get stiffer every day, even though I stretch whenever I get a chance. It’s an aging thing, related to stiffness.”

Knee pain: FitOldDog's eldest son, Nick, using a roller.

FitOldDog’s eldest son, Nick, using his rollers. His eyes are closed because it is an inner journey. Nick’s advice on rollers led to FitOldDog’s plantar fasciitis product.

I remembered what Lao-tzu had to say, and realized that I have to stretch and roll my muscles more and more after long runs. If I don’t, I’m hobbling around the next morning, for quite a while. And I will have really sore knees, usually on the sides, where my quads insert.

Tight quads and hamstrings can play havoc, yanking on insertions around your knees, to produce knee pain in all sorts of places. Just find the tight muscle, press in the right place, and you’ll create that pesky knee pain.

Jump on the rollers, get things loosened up.

Remember to talk politely to those sore muscle, while your at it.

As an older athlete, you might need to incorporate this work as as regular feature of your workout.

A word to the wise: Make sure you don’t have true knee damage. If in doubt, go to a professional. But try your thumb first. If you can recreate the knee pain, by pushing on the offending muscle, you should be able to fix it yourself. And remember to dial back your running, until it’s fixed.

You could try water running in the meantime:

Wishing you happy knees,




  1. Margaret says

    Your the best!! Thanks for constantly reminding me of things I should be doing!
    Your always trying to be fit old friend,

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.