Question: I am running the London marathon in April but have developed tendinitis in my knees. I’m no athlete and really need to get back into training. Can you suggest anything?
BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 12:47
Answer: Budding marathon runners eager to start their training often do too much too soon.
It is very important to seek advice about a good training schedule that will take into account your weight and level of fitness so that you don’t overdo it in the early stages.
If your body is not used to intense levels of exercise after relative inactivity, injury can often result. Muscle strains and tendinitis are very common ones.
The tendon is the part of a muscle that attaches it to the bone.
Muscle, which is normally very elastic and soft, tapers off at the end to form a much stiffer tendon. This stiffness does make the tendons stronger but because it is not as flexible as the muscle tissue itself, it is much more prone to tearing on a microscopic scale.
This tearing will produce the inflammation that is known as tendinitis.
Often symptoms are just an ache in the affected area, but if the pain is very severe you should seek medical advice.
In order to minimise the risk of injury, it is very important that you warm up before any exercise because the body functions far more effectively when it is warm. This way, when running commences your muscles are warm and flexible and there is less risk of pulling the muscles or damaging your tendons.
Also you may be interested to hear that a recent study published in the journal Physical Therapy in Sport has shown how a new supplement has helped to treat tendinitis and allowed athletes to be physically active while taking the treatment.
The supplement contains omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. It also contains organic selenium, zinc and vitamin B6, all powerful antioxidants which protect tissue from damage by the oxidants or ‘free radicals’ that are produced in excess when we exercise.
You can also boost your levels of omega 3’s by eating at least three portions of oily fish per week, and unsalted peanuts are a wonderful source of omega 6.
Hopefully you will be able to resume sensible training soon. Good Luck!