Knee Pain (When You Walk)?

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There I was at work. I stood up from my chair. It was brutal. Knee pain. My knees felt like someone had driven a nail from the outside of each one, directly through the hinge of each knee, toward my body’s midline. The right knee was worse, but either one would be sufficient to convince me to stop running or admit my innermost secrets. The first steps were horrible. It felt like ripping out staples that had been deeply embedded all around the knee-joint, creating mobility around that nail. The pain improved with each successive step, and, over 20 or 30 feet, mostly disappeared…until the next time I sat down.

26 Ways My Bucket List Got Me In Trouble

Immediately after completing my first 5k race, my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to run a marathon. She was beginning training for her sixth. It was on my bucket list, though i had no immediate plans. However, with the opportunity for partnership and a coach on the journey, I said “Yes”!*

Now that I’m a more mature and better trained runner, I wouldn’t suggest anyone go from 3 miles to 26 over the course of 6 months. However, that’s what I took on. She had done her first marathon with a training plan from Team in Training. We used a modification of that plan. As often implemented, marathon training entails running a few days a week. One of those days will be your “long run”. Each week, the long run will increase by one or two miles.

The Long Game (2 Years To Full Recovery)

By 8 miles, I was experiencing that knee pain. I knew I would have to resolve it quickly if I was to complete the mileage-buildup and take part in the marathon. A local running shop, Luke’s Locker (sadly, no longer in business in Austin), held weekly, free “Injury Clinic”s. These were 15-minute, free consultations, with a local medical professional. The doctor or therapist would help pinpoint the source of the issue and offer advice about how to resolve it, including the opportunity for more extensive care at their clinic.

As soon as she entered the room, the Physical Therapist said, “I bet you’re here for knee pain.”

I thought she must be joking. That was way too easy.

“Is that a Physical Therapy joke because most people come in with knee pain?”

“No, I can tell by the way you’re sitting, slouched over and knees splayed. You’re a perfect candidate for knee pain.”

I learned my parents, grandparents, and typing teacher had given me valuable advice:

  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Sit up straight.
  3. Don’t slouch.
  4. Pull in your abdominal muscles.

I spent a lot of money and time in physical therapy to be supported in learning and improving these skills that hadn’t stuck in childhood, and many others.

Immediate Relief (2 Weeks To No More Pain)

More immediately, (5) a pair of orthotics resolved the issue immediately!

2 More Things You Can Do

  1. Have an ergonomics assessment.
  2. Adjust your chair to the correct height for you.

*(While I’ve placed conversations in quotes, they’re not exact quotes of the conversations. They’re representative of the spirit and content of the conversations, as I recall them.)

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Hi, I’m Dylan Cornelius.

I’ve spent my career helping Fortune 500 companies build custom products and change the lives of their employees and customers.

Now I teach people everywhere how to get great results, manage change, and change their lives, with product development, continuous improvement, and agile management practices of the best businesses.

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I was the first son of a new teen mom. By the time I was 2, she was a single mom of 2, living with her parents and working a retail job as a cashier at a pharmacy. She remarried by the time I was 4.

My stepfather adopted me and my brother. He worked in construction 7 days a week to support the family.

Throughout my childhood, I learned firsthand the value of hard work. I was first in my family to do many things, and I’ve often done them the hard way: college on student loans while living on campus at UC Berkeley, an MBA while working full time. Later in life I ran a marathon, then 4 more and counting… I’ve learned multiple definitions of ‘healthy diet plan’, first as I lost 50 pounds, then again after I earned an autoimmune diagnosis.

In graduate school, I concentrated in “Management of Innovation” — after all, I worked in Silicon Valley, and I’d grown up just down the road! It was there I learned we don’t have to work so hard, (but it helps)!

We don’t have to rely on trial and error or hope, or just settle for less than we really want.

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