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The Princess and the Knee

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CCK’s version of The Princess and the Pea.  Did you ever read that childhood story?  Was I the only one who put a pea under my bed to see if I could feel it?  (Please reassure me that I wasn’t!)

My favorite story, growing up, though, was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Every single night, we coerced my poor mother into reading it (and also Where the Wild Things Are, for my sister).  After a while, she didn’t need the books anymore, and she made up her own versions (out of boredom, I’m sure), such as a version where Max (of Where the Wild Things Are) decides to bring all the wild things home with him!  Needless to say, my sister and I liked Mom’s versions even better than the originals.

Now it’s my turn to make up a new version of a classic story.

Therefore, today’s post is not about peas, but knees.  A few months ago, I wrote a post lamenting the fact that my new shoes were aggravating my knee.  (The problem subsided, and I’m now running pain-free.)  After the post, two girls left comments asking if I had any advice about taking care of one’s knees as a runner.

Aside from the aforementioned shoe issues, I’ve not had any knee pain or problems with my knees, so I thought I’d put this post out there in case some of you super-smart bloggers and blog-readers know more about the topic!

Personally, there are two big things I do to take care of my knees:

1. I usually run on the grass instead of the pavement.  (No, not on peoples’ lawns; I run on the grass that’s between the sidewalk and the road.) The softer surface is less stressful on my joints.  Plus, I feel like the rougher terrain also gives my muscles a better workout.

2.  I lift weights and stretch to strengthen my knees.  Oh, and I make sure to take at least one rest day per week to recuperate.

But I’d love to know all of your thoughts.  What precautions do you all take, during or after exercise, to protect your joints/muscles/bones/etc?  Any tips from seasoned runners on caring for one’s knees?

Chocolate-Covered Meal of the Day

Featuring a Rainbow Sandwich on an Ezekiel pita (with mixed greens because I didn’t have broccoli sprouts on hand).

rainbow sandwich

Next up: How to Beat the Heat.


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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Good morning!

    As far as knee/leg care, I try to stretch thoroughly after each workout. If I’m working out from home, I also use the foam roller I have to work out any knots or tension. That’s been a huge help in preventing injury.

    My favorite books were ‘A is for Annabelle’ and the Brambley Hedge books.

    Have a great day 🙂

  2. Regi says:

    Hee hee, I remember totally wanting to put a pea under my bed…but sadly I never got around to it!!!
    As for shoes, I’m not a huge runner, but I went to this store called The Running Room and the super nice people there helped me pick the perfect pair. They had me do some squats and lunges and they watched me walk around the store so they could see how much arch support I needed. It was a little funny because I was wearing a skirt that day, but I walked out with the comfiest, best workout shoes I have ever owned! No ankle or knee pain! Might I suggest going to a store that does the same kind of thing?

  3. Anne K. says:

    I suffer from knee issues– I’ve been diagnosed with patella-femoral syndrome. I try not to run more than 3 times a week, as I’ve found that’s what helps me. I also foam roll every night–this is a must! I truly notice a difference when I do and don’t do it.

    I also run in quieter neighborhoods where I can run on the road (always the left side!) The sidewalk is SO hard on your joints. If you have even grass to run on, that’s great. But the grass around here is really uneven, and you could easily twist an ankle. So, the road is actually kinder to your joints. Just BE CAREFUL! Always assume that cars don’t see you, and be ready to jump onto the lawns/driveways if a car is coming close to you. And it’s great if you can find safe neighborhoods to run in, preferably where you can see a good distance ahead of you.

    Also, be sure to stretch! For me, tight quads are a big issue. Make sure you have the correct shoes for your foot type and running style. If you have weird feet (I do!), I suggest orthotics. Since they were prescribed to me, my insurance paid for them (thankfully! I know they’re super expensive).

    I also take glucosamine/chrondrotin/msm supplements to help with my knees. If you are okay with it, I suggest fish oil supplements, too. It’s been shown to help with joint pain. Flaxseed is also good.

    Alright I know this is long, but I’ve definitely struggled with my share of knee pain. I hope this helps some people!

  4. keri410 says:

    One of my favorite childhood books was Dr Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. Such a great book with such an AWESOME message. I still love it!

    I am no seasoned runner, but like Anne said, making sure you get all the right nutrients in your body is key.

    That pita sandwich looks delicious, I’ll definitely have to look into trying one out!

    Have a great day!


  5. brandi says:

    grass is much easier on your joints, but we usually run on pavement since that’s what we have. I haven’t had any bad knee issues yet, though.

  6. Ksenia says:

    I have been running for 7 years, and luckily I have never had knee problems. Nevertheless, no one runner get out of suffering from something. In my case, are the ankles and my feet toes. After running for one hour, my toes get full of blisters. Sometimes I am scared of my own feet! >.< Talc helps a little because it absorbs the sweat, but it is not absolutely effective.

    It's great to fins more people who like running =) My friends think that I am crazy because I can spend an hour running They say that it is a lose of time…and I reply them that they can't imagine how well you feel after it =D

    By the way, your meal looks delicious =)

  7. I loved all the princess-ey fairy-tales when I was a kid. Especially Cinderella. I had quite a collection of various bedtime stories.

    I used to have knee problems to and usually running on softer surfaces does help (treadmill is a lot easier on the knees than asphalt), so you are doing the right thing by running on grass! Maybe I should start trying that, although in my neighborhood, we have trees in the grass too, so I have to be careful to not run into them 😉

  8. Run Sarah says:

    I have been having some knee issues lately…I like the idea of trying to run on grass as I almost always run on cement. I find stretching & yoga really helps me!

  9. JB says:

    oh i loved where the wild things are! but my absolute favorite books growing up were the berenstain bears books. my grandma would bring over a new one almost every time she came over and read it to me. good thing there were so many of them!

    i wish i had some advice to give you about knee care, but sadly i don’t. instead, i’m going to ask something of YOU! haha. do you still have the list of non-leather shoes that nike sent you? the shoes i’ve been wearing for a while are becoming unbearable, and are hurting my feet. i’ve been meaning to buy a new pair for so long and i would love to take a look at that list! but if you don’t have it, no worries, i can always contact them myself. have a beautiful monday!


  10. Kiersten says:

    One of my favorite childhood books was “The Stinky Cheese Man.” My mom and I used to read it together all the time because I thought it was funny. It was kind of a spoof on classic fairy tales.

  11. Anonymous says:

    My favorite book (like Kiersten) would be the Stinky Cheese Man! Loved it!

    What a fabulous idea for running in the grass! I always feel the pavement hurts my joints too much. Next time I crave a good run, I’ll try it out!

    I must try that sandwich, it sounds yum!

    So jealous of that picture right now, I wish I were there!

  12. Shelby says:

    My favorite book (like Kiersten) would be the Stinky Cheese Man! Loved it!

    What a fabulous idea for running in the grass! I always feel the pavement hurts my joints too much. Next time I crave a good run, I’ll try it out!

    I must try that sandwich, it sounds yum!

    So jealous of that picture right now, I wish I were there!

  13. Jane says:

    my favorite bedtime story…hmm maybe Goodnight Moon?
    I’m so glad to here that your knees aren’t bothering you anymore!
    Along with the tips you gave, I would emphasis replacing shoes regularly (350-500 miles which is a different length of time for everyone depending how much you run per week) and getting shoes that work with your bio mechanics.
    Are you surprised that my tip would be about running shoes? Yeah, me neither 😉

    P.S. I mentioned you in my last post 🙂

  14. Virginia says:

    that’s a good idea about running on the grass, most runners i see are always on the pavement or concrete!

  15. Erin says:

    Katie, you are so cute! I hope your knee is doing better! I try to run on the grass as well, for those exact same reasons.
    I love the new blog!
    <3 Erin

  16. Sagan says:

    Stretching and going on the grass are biggies for me. Gotta keep those knees healthy!

    So many good fairytales 🙂

  17. Sarah says:

    I’m so sorry about your knees! I wish I had some good advice, but I do know that sticking to soft surfaces IS better, even if it is a treadmill.

    I love your sandwich/burrito type pita! Ole!

  18. Jessica says:

    For me it’s all about the stretching! That, and I wear special inserts inside my running shoes 🙂 Even so, my knees still get sore after a few consecutive days of running but I bike or use the cross-trainer to help with that.

  19. Good to hear that your knee is better. Those shoes look great and it’s nice to know that Nike send you a list of vegan shoes. Very cool!

  20. My hips turn in, so I have uber-tight IT bands that pull on my knee caps. I have real traction issues and a post-surgery knee making long distance running very difficult. So that I can at least enjoy short runs, after I am warm, I do a hip stretch leaning into the IT band. This helps to losen just enough to prevent the pulling. When I feel it tighten, I stop and give ‘er a little stretch again.

    Overall though, if you have a build like mine, I recommend sports instead of straight out running. Side to side movement (soccer, tennis, etc.) helps to balance things out and keep the muscles around the knee engaged rather than a repetitive straight motion. Just my thoughts though 🙂

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