My Left Knee is Bumming Me Out

My left knee hasn’t been 100% since spring. I don’t know what happened to make it sore, but it has been bumming me out for months now. It gets better and then it gets worse. Just when I think it is healed, the soreness comes back.

I suspect that the reason my knee hasn’t fully healed and perhaps what has caused the pain in the first place is the fact I drive a stick shift on the hilly city streets of Seattle. Constantly depressing the clutch is probably the culprit.

I was really hoping to start uphill sprinting again this fall, but that isn’t going to happen.

My healing plan so far has been using ice, wearing a wrap, and consuming MSM, gelatin, bone broth and starting yesterday – Zyflamend. I’ve heard lots of good things about Zyflamend, so I have some hope that my knee might get better.

Zyflamend By New Chapter - 120 Softgels
Zyflamend By New Chapter – 120 Softgels

If I could wave a magic wand and convert my car from a manual to automatic I would. I’ve driven only manual cars since college. It has been fun, but a few hundred thousand miles is probably enough for one knee. I do know one retired long haul trucker that needs to have his knee replaced from years of clutching.

I do love my car and my plans were to keep it as long as it held up. Now it is looking like the car might outlast my knee. Maybe this is just my frustration talking? If anyone has any additional ideas on fixing my knee, please leave a comment. I can’t even do a single 25 pound goblet squat repetition without pain.


Add yours

  1. A little more detail please.
    Where does the soreness seem to be located? Front, back, one side or the other. Can you tell if it’s muscle around the knee or perhaps ligaments or meniscus? What range of motion do you have free of the pain, and then where does it start? For example: it’s okay if you bend it 15 deg or less, but not more. Do you feel the soreness if you were to just run a quarter mile or so, not necessarily sprint? Does it actually hurt when you engage the clutch? And any other details might help.

    Zyflamend is our stores, and the nations, best selling herbal anti inflammatory. It is a very good product, but I’ve not seen it help people with soreness. I think it shines for systemic inflammation … which a lot of people need help with.

  2. @Aaron – It feels worse when I bend into a squat on the outside of the knee. I can feel a sharp pain then that makes me feel like I’m about to lose stability. It happens when I’m at the bottom of a squat (parallel).

    However, this leads to a general numbness and stiffness – not necessarily pain – throughout the day.

    I can not run more than a block. I probably still walk a mile or two a day. I’d love to go further, but the stiffness returns. Driving across town with lots of clutching for a few days in a row causes stiffness as well.

    @Charles – Thanks for the idea.

  3. The first thing to do is rest the injured knee. I have an ACL injury on my left knee which was repaired but still gives me trouble from time to time. When it acts up cold wraps really help but there’s no substitute for letting it rest. Sounds like you might have some inflammation, usually due to compression stress…squats are death when you have this issue, stretching might help. I use a dog leash to help me with stretching. Good luck with it, it will likely respond to a combination of rest, stretching, cold therapy and maybe some Tylenol.

  4. It sounds like it could be a small to medium tear of your lateral meniscus. Do some searching to see if it matches your symptoms like I think it might.

    Complete rest from aggravating activities and lots bone broth would be my priorities. Also, I would try wearing a knee brace or wrap to restrict bending while walking at first.

    Knees are tricky joints. It may or may not heal depending on the blood supply to the area and the extent of the damage.

  5. Here is something different to try – castor oil pack, you can buy pure food grade castor oil cold pressed from any health store, and make the pack then add some heating to the part to reduce inflammation. I have just discovered castor oil and it has so many healing, drawing out properties, its worth a go. Very good for all skin conditions too. There is a lot on youtube on how to make the packs if you are interested.

  6. The other thing I do is use magnesium oil on any major joints if they hurt, it works well with coconut oil and you will feel the benefit within an hour. As a castor oil starter I would mix the castor oil with some coconut oil, it is very thick and only requires a few drops. Massage into the knee and then cover with cloth/flannel then plastic on top (that will keep the oil from spreading), then put something warm over the knee. I have a warming bag that goes into microwave and heats up quick and easy. The heat enables your body to absorb the castor oil more deeply. Castor oil is also an ancient remedy used for so many things – hair, skin, joints, liver/stomach, shoulder / back. I always test things before using more so would start slowly. So far I have no negative reaction to castor oil and my body seems to love it.

  7. I have no idea how to repair your knee. What I’m wondering is if switching to walking/public transit might give it a better rest than continuing to drive. (People should be driving less anyways, to the extent that they can, says someone who can’t afford to and who has given up her driver’s licence.)

  8. Hey MAS

    The number one thing I learned during my own knee problems/trouble shooting/surgery/rehab/etc, is that the knee is very complex, there is a lot that can go wrong, and … well, we are not yet at Stark Trek levels of healing and understanding.

    The subject area is not very advanced, in other words. At least not from what I can tell.

    If you haven’t yet, consider getting an MRI done on the knee, either via health insurance or a cash payment (ask the doctor for a cash price, you should pay around $350, even try calling ahead if you do not have a particular doctor you are determined to see).

    A doctor may also go for x-rays of the knee in various positions to check tracking of the knee-cap and other potential issues (including loose bodies).

    I say all this because there could be something internally wrong that you are not aware of, and you don’t exactly have a back up set of knees. After having the knee looked at, proceed with extreme caution regarding medical treatment.

    X-rays and MRIs are great — what happens after, can uh, vary.

    Beyond that, it sounds like you eat a fantastic diet, and are taking just about everything you can to support the joint, so I am going to guess that your returns on further time/effort investment into that front are going to be limited.

    Instead, I would look further into physical remedies and modifications. For starters, stay the heck away from painful ROM.

    Second, start performing static only exercises for the knee. No more dynamic exercises for the time being. Static exercises have been the single most important tool for fixing my knee.

    If you haven’t tried it yet, give foam rolling a shot. Focus on your healthy leg first to get a handle on how its going to work for the other knee. Of course, be careful getting on and off the ground – it sounds like this could be a problem for you.

    Finally, these 2 inexpensive braces have been useful for me.

    (Go smaller in size on the black one than you think you need, instead of larger).

    The first one may or may not have anything to do with your issues, but for $6 it is absolutely worth a shot.

    You can also spring for a thicker McDavid that builds up more heat around the knee. (Not saying extra heat is going to do a damn thing for you – saying it is worth trying in tandem with light compression to observe the effect).

    That’s it off the top of my head, best of luck, I’ll check back in if you have questions.

    – Anthony

  9. Actually, one more thing that I should mention, and please don’t be alarmed.

    Upon re-reading your comments in this post, much of what you describe mirrors how my knee felt when the loose body I had stuck in my knee drifted into a bad position.

    First it happened every few years. Then every few months. The frequency change is what worried me most, and sent me to the doc.

    Most significantly, the instability and sharp pain are perfect descriptors for how it felt. The knee would then feel stiff for a few days. A full 2 weeks one time. No noticeable swelling though. Just “stiff”.

    Food for thought.

  10. I munted my knee recently doing static long jumps. Now this may be a stretch, but this is what helped me. On advice from my acupuncturist, I stopped using ice, the theory being that ice almost ‘locks’ the knee pattern in place, when what is really needed for healing is for blood and chi to flow properly. Also, in TCM, the knee and kidneys are closely related, and if you know anything about TCM and kidneys, they hate cold (and love salt).

    Here is the option: use laundry salts. I wrap the salts in a thin muslin cheese cloth, crush them a little, and tie it around your knee. You can hold it in place with a stretchy brace. Do this at night and sleep with it on.

    No guarantees but it’s got to be worth a go, considering a big container of laundry salt is like $3 🙂

  11. I feel like I have to weigh in because I had what sounds like similar knee problems throughout my 30s. I’m now 49 with 0 to 10% knee problems, with 100% being unbearable pain.
    Apologies for some quick and sloppy thoughts:
    – for therapy – cold-hot contrast therapy – using a strong flow hand-held shower head, back and forth between hot and cold, as hot as possible, as cold as possible for as long as possible. everyday; ideally twice each day
    – “Grok” squats – 20 seconds each time – ideally every hour or two
    – avoid free weight squats whenever the knee is sore, i.e. don’t do goblet squats
    – experiment with semi static holds on the leg press machine (along the lines that you yourself have suggested) build up the holds so that they are 10 to 30 seconds in each leg extension position
    – apologies for sounding like a broken record: indoor rowing machine. to build up knee strength do very few strokes per minute, e.g:
    – on the Concept2 rower – 20 second intervals, 1 stroke per interval – ideally 30 intervals (i.e. 30 strokes in total) with the interval session taking a total of 10 minutes (20 seconds X 30 intervals = 10 minutes)
    – some people find swimming good for their knees; for me swimming is neither helpful nor unhelpful (but I hate chlorine)
    – If you can find access – an under-water running machine (very high tech)

    In summary – build up the quadricep muscles around the knee very slowly, in a low-impact way, but very steadily; exercise those knees nearly every day. make the muscles stronger but build the strength gently

  12. My right medial meniscus was removed in 1985. A small tear I made worse by sucking it up and “kicking it out” when my knee locked (dumbass soccer coach’s suggestion). Ran ultramarathons aftetwards. Knees are not to be messed with, but you can overcome abuse. Go get checked out.

  13. @All — Thanks for all the ideas. Lots of great tips here. I will keep you posted on what I try and my progress.

  14. I have a similar problem with my knee. WRX— stiff clutch, adding a clutch stop seems to help, but I don’t think I’ll drive one forever/ atleast as a daily. If you see the car forums this is a common problem that doesn’t really have a good solution. It makes sense that ectomorphs make poor construction men, I couldn’t imagine stomping on crane and truck pedals for 20 yrs. But like anything else YMMV

  15. You get good responses on this type of posts. People care about you, my friend.

    You gotta rest that knee. That’s it. We’ve become old overnight and it now takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to heal.

  16. MAS,

    you just need to lubricate that knee joint with some Upgraded MCT Oil. This will solve all of your problems. 🙂

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