Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Knee pads


If you read mapsurfer's O log, you'll know that Randy's been struggling with a knee injury. He smashed his knee on a rock.

Randy is looking into knee pads to wear while orienteering.

In the late 1980s, the Swedish team doctor -- Christer Johansson -- was pushing knee pads. Here is a quote from an old Skoggsport:

Doctor Johansson is well known for being tough on his patients who have what he considers "unnecessary" injuries, especially knee injuries. "The runners in the WOC group have knee pads that they are supposed to use...For the other national team runners, we're developing a knee pad -- knee pads are a must these days," according to Johansson. "I get so angry when there are these avoidable injuries."

One of the Finnish runners at last year's World Champs ran in knee pads. Her pads looked very light. I didn't study them carefully, but it looked like they were fairly small (maybe 3x5 inches) patches of foam padding. They fit outside her O' suit. I'm not sure how they attached. It looked like they attached below the knee and were loose above the knee. I guess that would make them comfortable and would keep them from restricting motion. Someone told me that she began running with the knee pads after an injury.

I thought I might be able to find a photo of the Finnish runner on the 2001 WOC homepage. But, the homepage (www.woc2001.fi) doesn't seem to be up.

It might make sense to design an O' knee pad that was an extension of an O' gaiter. The shin padding could just stick up five or six inches beyond the top of the gaiter. My idea is that the pad wouldn't actually be attached to the knee. So, it wouldn't restrict motion. But, it would protect the knee if you fell.

I've never run with knee pads. I've had a few falls where I hit my knee. Once I missed a couple of weeks of training when my knee swelled a lot after smashing the knee on a rock (and running on the roads the next day).

posted by Michael | 7:29 PM


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