Will scar tissue on my knee preclude distance running?
November 11, 2010 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Will the scar tissue on my knee get in the way of my running? Or will I outrun it?

When I was in high school, I tore my ACL playing soccer. I had the surgery to get it repaired, which took tissue from my patellar tendon. As a result of this surgerymdash;and my lackluster rehab efforts—I have a lot of scar tissue on the front of my knee, below the kneecap.

Now, 10 years later, I'm getting into running. I started with the Couch-to-5K program about 8 months ago and have slowly ramped up from there. Last Sunday I did my first 10-mile run. Things are going great!

I'm starting to worry about the scar tissue on my knee. While the pain doesn't particularly bother me while I'm running, it was easily the sorest thing on my body the day after my 10-miler. I did 3 miles today and it didn't bother me during the run, but stairs can be a little uncomfortable.

So how does scar tissue work? Will the pain likely increase or decrease as I continue to run? Will it cause injury? Is there anything I can do "break up" the scar tissue? Any advice for a new runner using refurb equipment?

You are not my doctor, naturally, I'm just looking for some casual advice as I weigh my options.
posted by sportbucket to Health & Fitness (2 answers total)
I have the same ACL reconstruction, also dating from high school; I'm 8 years or so out from surgery.

You don't say whether you were particularly athletic between your injury and picking up running. For me, the main reasons I notice my knee are kneeling (which still doesn't work quite like it did), and because it's always "the sorest thing" the day after any kind of unusual exertion - dancing, biking, hiking, etc. Is this issue particular to running for you?

I don't have particular issues with scar tissue, but the ways I take care of my knee are running in good shoes and off of concrete when possible - the last time I ran for more that a few days in a row in substandard shoes, I really felt it. In general I will be fine for several weeks, and then have a run that for whatever reason leaves the knee feeling off. When this happens I take a rest day and then a easy run until things resolve.

I also don't know how critical this is, but in terms of injury prevention, I also do a fair amount of physical activities that are not running, to avoid uneven muscle strength.
posted by heyforfour at 2:41 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: You don't say whether you were particularly athletic between your injury and picking up running.

Mostly sedentary. Every couple of years I'd start running again, do too much too quickly, and quit after a few weeks due to shin splints or something like that. The Cto5K program forced me to ramp up slowly, so I was able to work through the little aches and pains.

The only times I notice my knee are periods of prolonged activity, like running for more than an hour or hiking more than three or four.

Once I was able to predict a change in the weather with my knee, but so far that's a fluke.
posted by sportbucket at 3:30 PM on November 11, 2010

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