For more than 5 years I had been dealing with the pain and discomfort of Runner’s Knee. If you have it you know the feeling. That burning and aching around your knee cap. Like a dull toothache, it just persists and won’t go away. And the more active you are the more severe it becomes.
As someone who enjoys riding and running it can ruin your day. That 5-mile run today…ugh! That 25-mile ride you have planned this weekend…how will you ever get through it? It can take the joy out of the activities you once looked forward to. Nobody enjoys pain.
You will try anything to make the pain go away. Knee sleeves, braces, wraps, tape, ointments, NSAIDS. The pile grows. You modify your workout plans. You incorporate several walk breaks into your runs. Reroute your bike rides to avoid hills. You finally give in and seek professional help. They tell you to cut back on your activities. You go for an x-ray. Then it’s off to weeks of physical therapy. It helps, but you still have pain. You begin to believe this is something you must learn to live with.
But I don’t give up easily. As an engineer I have spent my life finding simple solutions to very complex problems. And sometimes what’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to others. Like the “old lady pretty lady” illusion. Some won’t see the pretty lady until you point her out and visa-versa.
When my orthopedic doctor showed me my knee x-ray for the first time we saw things very differently. She showed me there was a loss of space between my patella (knee cap) and my femur (thigh bone). She explained that the loss of space was causing the cartilage to rub which leads to inflammation and pain. She then recommended a knee support that would hold my patella down with compression. I responded by telling her “I’ve already tried several supports like that. They didn’t work!”
I did not see how compression would fix the problem. Knowing that a lack of space was the primary cause of my discomfort the use of compression just didn’t make sense to me. Compression would reduce the space even further.
The Running Doc™ agrees. He says “Knee sleeves, braces, straps and ACE bandages are out. Think about it: If you compress the kneecap, every motion will press it into the groove. Keep it loose and free. Those devices are making money for someone, but not helping you in the long term!”
Once I understood the root cause of my discomfort I did what engineers do. I began researching and thinking about ways I could relieve the pressure and restore the space. I needed something to relieve the pressure, not add pressure. The engineer in me would not quit until I had a solution.
It was a weekend in May when my knees were burning and aching after a long bike ride. I had a 10-mile run planned for the next morning. I was dreading the thought of running with burning knees when an idea sprung into my head, literally. That’s it! A simple spring! Something that would gently pull on my knee cap.
I went into my old bag of discarded (and ineffective) knee sleeves, grabbed a scissors and started cutting. I then headed to a local hardware store for some key ingredients. I would construct a device that would lift my patella, restore the space, and relieve the pressure.
The next day I was excited and anxious to try my new device. Would it work? I headed to the track to find out if my instincts, my view of the problem, were right. Karen, my wife, joined me. She was hopeful it would help. Success would mean she wouldn’t have to listen to me complain about my aching knees on the way home.
I started my run. 1 mile…no pain. 2 miles…no pain. As I ran alongside Karen I said, “It’s working!” She responded “Cool! Keep running!”. At mile 5 there was a minor technical difficulty, so I had to stop briefly to make an adjustment. But still, no pain and I was now half way through my run. A major milestone had been achieved. I was running pain free for the first time in years. 8…9…10 miles and no pain! To cap it off…my last mile was my fastest. Wow! I had completed a 10-mile run knee pain free. I knew then that I had come up with something very special.
It has performed remarkably since the very first day I strapped it on. NuNee has even seen me through my training and participation in Ironman competition. Today, nearly 1 year later, I have logged hundreds of running miles and thousands of cycling miles with NuNee. It has provided relief from the knee pain that was once my reality.
What’s most impressive about NuNee is its ability to help others that also suffer from chronic knee pain. Weekend warriors that had given up running are now running again. Collegiate high jumpers that thought their season was over are back competing again. NuNee has even brought some to tears when they realized their reality of knee pain has ended.
Sometimes things just need to be viewed from a different perspective.
For more information and details regarding how NuNee works please stop by https://NuNeeShop.com
NuNee is off and running and some are jumping with joy…literally!
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Written by Michael Emmerling
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