Are there any runners who don’t complain about their bad knees? It doesn’t seem so. Knee pain is just part of the runner’s life. We do exercises and stretches to try to avoid it and we use ice and creams and ibuprofen to try and alleviate it. But it seems the number one “cure” used by runners is Glucosamine Chondrotin (GC). The shelves at CVS and Rite-Aid are stocked full of various brands of GC. The online wholesale Vitamin sites have more varieties than you could imagine – GC MSM, GC Sulfate, GC Double Strength, GC liquid, GC Orange, and on and on. So the stuff must work, right? Right? Well, maybe. There are research reports and case studies to support either side of this argument. If you want to find proof that GC works, you can find it. If you want proof it doesn’t, you can find that too. The real proof, is in YOUR knees. Does it work for you?
A few years ago my knees had gotten to the point that if I squatted down to get something from a bottom cupboard I could not stand-up without grabbing the counter-top and pulling myself up. I was icing my knees after every run. Standing up after sitting was painful. I read all the pros and cons about GC and then asked my doctor. He said try it and see. After a few weeks of taking the GC capsules my knees were not as stiff and painful. The stiffness was not completely gone, but definitely better. After a few more weeks, there was more improvement. I wasn’t icing my knees or getting stuck in a squat in the kitchen. A GC capsule became part of my morning routine (along with Fish Oil and baby aspirin). Everything was fine until about a year later when I thought I had another bottle in the cupboard but didn’t and it took me over a week to get to the drug store. During that time I wasn’t taking GC my knees started hurting again. The stiffness and pain was back. But when I got to the store and started on GC my knees were good again a few days later. Was it real pain or just in my head? Did I feel the stiffness simply because I knew I hadn’t taken the GC? I don’t know. But I know my knees don’t hurt as much now. So, is Glucosamine Chondroitin medicine or myth. You decide.