Running Doc: Even by any other name, “Runner’s Knee”  is easily diagnosed and treated

Dear Running Doc: I am NOT a runner! I am 23 and live in Garden City, LI. The only exercise I get, unfortunately (because I just can't find the time), is walking around Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island. I do this for three hours usually 2-3 times a week as I browse and shop with friends. Recently, with no injury, I developed knee pain in both knees going downstairs and my knees stiffen up if sitting a while, like after a movie. I saw my local doctor who said I have "Runner's Knee" but I DON'T RUN! When I told my doctor that, he laughed and said I need physical therapy. He must be wrong! Can it be anything else? Laura G., Garden City, NY. Thanks Laura. It sounds like your doctor is correct, although he probably shouldn't have called it "Runner's Knee" for you. Many sports that require walking, running, or cycling cause this very problem. In your case I would call it "Maller's Knee". "Runner's knee or “Maller's Knee” or “Cyclist's Knee" is the most common knee pain people get. Sports doctors, orthopaedic surgeons, family doctors, and internists see this type of knee pain more than anything else. Understanding the real cause makes treatment easy and pain relief possible in a short period of time. It is also called "anterior knee syndrome," "chondromalacia patella,” and "patellofemoral syndrome": all names for the same thing. When it comes to this knee problem, biology is destiny: Blame your parents, they gave you your feet. Anyone whose foot rolls inward (pronation) during a stride is a candidate, but the real high risk for everyone is with extremely flat feet, a large, pronating forefoot, or a so-called "Morton's foot" (where the second toe is longer than the first, causing an exaggerated pronation). Your parents gave you those feet -- not your sport, your activity, or a specific injury. Of all the aches and pains that one can get, this one's probably the easiest to get rid of. If pain comes on Continue Reading

For runners, using the wrong orthotics can lead to foot or back pain

Dear Running Doc: Last August my chiropractor fitted me with orthotics. After wearing them for two months, I developed knee pain that hasn't gone away. I know you have said orthotics should not be hard or end in mid-arch. That is what my orthotics look like. Do you think the orthotics are the cause of my knee pain? — Andrea C., Livingston, N.J, Dear Andrea: Unfortunately, orthotics are like a fine Jaguar car. When working well, there is nothing better. When wrong, they will put you in the shop! Yes, your orthotics are wrong for a runner and yes, they are probably the cause of your knee pain because they have not corrected your biomechanical problem. Running magnifies every biomechanical flaw with each step. More than 80% of runners who come into my office complaining of lower extremity, foot or back pain, and who say they don't need orthotics because they already have them, have the wrong type. I think it is about time to clear up what runners need to know about orthotics. The first task is defining the term orthotic. The medical community views an orthotic as any device used to support, align, prevent deformities or improve the function of the foot. According to this definition, many devices may be considered orthotics, including over-the-counter arch supports, shoe inlays, shock reducing insoles, heel cushions or cups, and even felt or silicone pads. When sports physicians speak of orthotics, we are referring to a VERY SPECIFIC type of foot support. It is important to recognize that ALL types of foot supports have their place but they must be used properly if they are to prevent injury. Shoe inlays or shock absorbing insoles are devices placed into the shoe to absorb shock or alter load pattern on certain areas of the foot. Spenco, PPT, or Scholl's Pillow Insoles are examples. They are flat (little or no arch), cut to the length of the shoe, and made of soft, flexible materials. These are best used for a bruised or irritated foot. Continue Reading

Why does my knee hurt when I run up and down  stairs — and what is that crunching noise?

Ever since I can remember, my knees have made a crunching noise when they bend. So far, thank goodness, this is still only a noise and pain going down stairs.. I am 36 and started running about eight months ago on a treadmill. I am now up to six miles per run, four days per week, and my right knee is almost always stiff. Not painful, just stiff. So much so that at times, I can't get past the stiffness to stretch my quads after a run. I want to train to run the NYC Marathon next year; it looks like such great fun. Should I be concerned about the area that seems swollen, even though there isn't pain, only stiffness?. And what is it? - Sam J., Tampa, FL "Runner's knee" is the most common pain runners get. Sports doctors, orthopaedic surgeons, family doctors and internists see this in runners more than anything else. Understanding the real cause makes treatment easy and pain relief possible in a short period of time. It is also called "anterior knee syndrome," "chondromalacia patella," and "patellofemoral syndrome," all names for the same thing. When it comes to runner's knee, biology is destiny: Blame your parents, they gave you feet like yours! Anyone whose foot rolls inward (pronation) during a stride is a candidate, but the real high risk for runners are people with extremely flat feet, a large, pronating forefoot, or a so-called "Morton's foot" (where the second toe is longer than the first, causing an exaggerated pronation). Your parents gave you those feet — not your sport, your activity, or a specific injury. Of all the aches and pains that one can get, this one's probably the easiest to get rid of. If you were doing some serious running mileage over the summer, maybe getting ready for a fall marathon, or if pain came on "suddenly" without any apparent injury and your knee started to get sore when you walked up and down stairs, you feel clicking in the knee when getting up or you have felt stiff when you were sitting in a movie, you most probably have Continue Reading

Inside the NFL matchups: Week 15

It's that time of the week again and our experts try to break down all the odds for your Sunday spreads and odds. Check out Hank Gola's guide to get you through the weekend a winner. Falcons at Jets 1 p.m., Ch. 5, Jets by 4, 37.5 HANK'S HONEYS: The Jets have to be careful not to get caught up in their new-found life, start looking ahead to the Colts and ignore a team that would be in the thick of the NFC playoff race if not for injuries to QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner. Turner could be back this week, although at less than 100%, while Chris Redman may have found some confidence in the Falcs' near-upset of the Saints. It's a dangerous game for the Jetsies, far more dangerous than the point spread indicates. Mark Sanchez looks to return on a sore knee but he would be back in the same cold Jersey weather in which the SoCal kid threw five picks against the Bills in October. Certainly, he - or Kellen Clemens - will be color-code protected as the Jets rely on the run. Beware, though. The Falcons' defense may be undersized but it is active and sound against the run. Atlanta can make things very difficult. IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Falcons and the under. Giants at Redskins, Monday, 8:30 p.m., Ch. 11, ESPN, Giants by 3, 43.5 HANK'S HONEYS: These are not the same teams that opened the season against each other. Although the Giants still have playoff hopes and the Redskins don't, an argument could be made that the Skins have played the better football over the last five weeks. There isn't any question which team has the better defense right now. Even if Albert Haynesworth can't play, rookie Brian Orakpo (four sacks against the Raiders last week) is coming on as a pass rusher, and the Giants will be starting rookie William Beatty at RT. Eli Manning is certainly a better quarterback than Jason Campbell but Campbell has been playing with a lot more confidence. And since October who hasn't looked good against the Giants' secondary? The Giants have dominated the Continue Reading

Through hard work and family, there’s no stopping rookie New York Jets running back Shonn Greene

SICKLERVILLE, N.J. - Dressed in a green and white No.23 Jets jersey, Shonn Greene's grandmother sits on the couch in her South Jersey home Tuesday night, flipping through two scrapbooks packed with newspaper accounts of his football career. Cheryl Greene glances at a bar in her living room, where Shonn's high school trophies are proudly displayed.Reggie Greene, the running back's father, watches as his mother - the woman who helped raise his son - beams about the success of the Jets' rookie, who has burst onto the scene during this postseason in the same fashion in which he explodes through a hole and leaves some poor safety in his wake. Reggie Greene realizes the painfully quiet star would not approve of the adulation but savors the moment, knowing there were times when his son's football career could have been over before it got started."This is a culmination of everything good and bad, perseverance, hard work, fortuitousness, believing in your dream," says Reggie, 44. "Dreams do come true. You just have to work at it. The talent has never been a question. It was just how he was going to mature and get a break."Much like the Jets' journey to the AFC Championship Game, Shonn Greene's road to playoff stardom has taken twists and turns, from his days at Winslow Township High School to his college career at the University of Iowa. And like the upstart Jets, Greene has learned from his mistakes to get to within one victory of the Super Bowl. Raised by his grandparents and father from age 12 after his parents separated, Greene overcame academic difficulties that threatened his budding career multiple times. He had to attend a prep school after high school. Later, after he lost his scholarship because of bad grades, he worked in a furniture warehouse during a year away from Iowa football.All along the way, Greene leaned heavily on the woman he introduces to people as his "grandmother, aka, mom" - Cheryl Greene, the woman whose name is tattooed on his neck, inside a Continue Reading

Carlos Beltran says there’s no ill will towards Mets, plenty of progress after Jan. knee surgery

PORT ST. LUCIE - Carlos Beltran arrived at Mets camp insisting he took only a week to get over the sting of team officials publicly alleging he didn't have permission to undergo knee surgery. And no animosity exists six weeks after the Jan. 13 procedure in Vail, Colo., to clean out debris from an arthritic right knee, he added Monday. "No, I didn't have hard feelings," said Beltran, who should be out of the lineup until mid-May. "You know, it took me a while because I'm a human being, of course, and I'm a person who has feelings. It took me like a week for me to forget everything and focus on what is important for me. What is important for me right now is just to be with the team, get ready, and being able to play." Beltran said his right knee bothered him while walking this winter, leaving him no alternative to the procedure. So far he is labeling the surgery a success, although he's not yet ready to begin running because the area surrounding the knee still needs to be strengthened. "I'm right on schedule," Beltran said. "I'm not ahead of schedule because I don't feel like my knee right now is too stable. I wish I could run. But right now I don't feel like that. I feel like if I run, something wrong is going to happen, because the quad is not stable, the hamstrings are not stable. Once I strengthen those areas, I think everything else is going to fall in place and it's going to be feeling good. "The doctor said to me when he went inside, he said actually that he couldn't believe how I was playing with so many little pieces floating around the knee. When he cleaned those out, he said, 'You're going to feel 100% the day after I do the surgery.' And actually that's how I felt. When they did the surgery, the day after I was riding the bike. No pain. Moving the knee. Bending the knee. No pain. "This is something that time will let me know if the surgery was successful or not. But right now I'm really positive. I'm very happy with the outcome. I'm looking Continue Reading

X-ray vision: Diagnosing A-Rod pain

Professional baseball players subject their bodies to extreme forces. For example, the hip joint may experience forces up to five times body weight during activities such as running, jumping, and twisting. Alex Rodriguez is finding this out firsthand. After years of running and swinging a bat, it sounds like he has developed some early arthritis and damaged his hip labrum.The majority of injuries to the hip joint are typically muscular strains, or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments around the joint. These types of injuries generally improve with appropriate treatments such as rest, ice, massage, muscle stimulation, ultrasound and a variety of manual therapy techniques.If hip pain does not resolve after an appropriate period of these types of treatments, the athlete and trainer/doctor should consider injuries to the inside of the joint involving cartilage structures such as articular cartilage and the labrum. From reports in the news, it sounds like this is exactly what A-Rod has.Injuries to the labrum are among the most common source of hip pain in athletes. The labrum is a relatively small tissue similar in structure to the meniscus in the knee and the labrum in the shoulder. It surrounds the outer perimeter of the hip socket, known as the acetabulum, and forms a seal around the joint, which helps to preserve joint mechanics. When the labrum tears, the torn fragment can get pinched between the ball of the hip joint (the femoral head) and the socket (the acetabulum). The diagnosis of a labral tear remains largely clinical and is similar to those patients who present with a meniscus tear in the knee.The athlete almost always describes pain in the groin particularly with twisting maneuvers. Often there will be a sense of catching or locking within the joint as the torn tissue gets caught in the joint. Sometimes their presentation is more subtle, with symptoms of dull, activity-induced, positional pain that fails to improve with rest. Frequently the athlete will Continue Reading

Knee & shoulder injuries can hit anyone who exercises, not just pros

The Specialist: Dr. James Gladstone on sports injuries An orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai for 11 years, Gladstone does research on cartilage regeneration and performs 6 to 8 surgeries a week, specializing in arthroscopic shoulder and knee procedures. The big story: Golf legend Tiger Woods, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in April, tested his body and his doctors and beat the odds with his incredible win at the U.S. Open on Monday. But for us mere mortals, sports injuries can do lasting damage if precautions aren't taken. Who's at risk: Sports injuries can happen to anyone who exercises, though some groups are at higher risk of particular injuries. For instance, Gladstone tends to see shoulder dislocations in younger patients, but rotator cuff tears tend to be "across the spectrum," usually as the result of traumatic injury. Acl (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries - tears in one of the ligaments in the knee - are very common. "I see that in anyone from 14 to 50 on a regular basis," says Gladstone. Acl tears tend to happen in twisting, pivoting sports like football, basketball, baseball, soccer and skiing. Women are four to eight times more prone to this type of injury. Doctors aren't sure why, but it's thought to be due to a combination of neuromuscular coordination, women's particular alignment of pelvis and leg, and hormonal factors. One common scenario Gladstone sees is the weekend exerciser - people who don't run during the week but then run 5 miles on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. They come to the doctor complaining of knee pain. Gladstone says the key is exercising more often, even if it is for shorter sessions: "If you can make time for yourself to work out four days a week - even for as little as 20 minutes a day - you can stay in good maintenance shape and prevent injuries down the road." Signs and symptoms: Gladstone says there is an easy rule of thumb to follow about sports injuries: "The key is - if it hurts, pay attention Continue Reading


INDIANAPOLIS - The officials finally left Jermaine O'Neal alone and let him play in Game 3. Little did O'Neal know that the Nets would do the same. For the first time in this first-round series, O'Neal didn't get into foul trouble. And that meant nothing but trouble for the Nets. O'Neal, who was fined $15,000 yesterday for criticizing the officiating after Game 2, unleashed his frustration on the Nets. He dominated them with 37 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks to lead Indiana to a 107-95 win in Game 3 last night at Conseco Fieldhouse. O'Neal, who matched his playoff career-high in scoring, wasn't the only Pacer to burn the Nets. Anthony Johnson continued to haunt his former team, scoring 13 of his playoff career-high 25 points in the fourth quarter. With no answer for O'Neal and Johnson, the Nets now find themselves down 2-1 to the underdog Pacers with Game 4 here tomorrow. One more loss and the Nets will be playing to keep their season alive at the Meadowlands in this best-of-seven series. "We didn't show up," Jason Kidd said. "We didn't play any defense." The Nets are in serious trouble. They led by five at halftime but suffered a complete meltdown afterward. They were just 9-of-38 shooting in the final 24 minutes, while Vince Carter (25 points) missed all 10 of his shots after halftime. "Our defense wasn't good," said Richard Jefferson, who scored 25 points. "Our offense was twice as bad. We have way too much offensive talent to score 15 (third-quarter) points against anybody." The problem for the Nets is they finally saw just how talented O'Neal is. O'Neal spent the previous two days watching tape of Games 1 and 2 to see how he could avoid foul trouble. He had as many fouls (10) as he did rebounds in the two games at New Jersey. "I can't even tell you how many times I rewound certain plays to figure out the best way to help my team and stay out of foul trouble," said O'Neal, who earned his fine by accusing officials of letting the Nets flop. Continue Reading


After watching the sluggish rushing attack in Friday night's preseason opener, the Jets seem more determined than ever to acquire a veteran running back. It seems to be a matter of when - not if - they pull the trigger on a trade. Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston, both trying to fill the Curtis Martin void, combined for only 29 yards on 11 carries in the 16-3 loss to the Bucs. Houston also missed the block on Kalvin Pearson, the blitzing safety who sacked Chad Pennington and yanked his arm backward. Rookie Leon Washington didn't get much of a chance to run, finishing with one carry for a yard. "Derrick and myself, we know we can get the job done," said Houston, addressing the trade speculation. "We don't know what's going on in the offices; we just try to get better and compete for the spot." Martin, 33, is battling a career-threatening knee injury and he's not expected to practice for at least a week. Privately, the Jets believe there's an outside chance he could be ready for the Sept. 10 opener. For Martin, dealing with a bone-on-bone condition in his right knee, it could come down to a pain-tolerance issue. Some people close to him believe he's finished. Running backs who might be available include Ladell Betts (Redskins), Lee Suggs (Browns), Marcel Shipp (Cards), Cedric Cobbs (Broncos) and Chris Brown (Titans). "The fact that we didn't do it effectively means we have to go back and put more emphasis on it," Eric Mangini said of the running game. NOSE JOB: The Jets also have a serious lack of depth on the defensive line, especially at nose tackle. Dewayne Robertson, not a natural nose tackle, is learning the position and struggled in the opener. His projected backup, Sione Pouha, is out for the season after knee surgery. Look for GM Mike Tannenbaum to acquire another body. Veteran DE Kimo von Oelhoffen played some nose Friday night, with Robertson shifting to right end in the 3-4. THAT'S A FIRST: Rookie LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson had an Continue Reading