5 Tips to Avoid Knee Pain While Running
Today you will learn about 5 useful tips to help avoid Knee pain, especially if your a runner. Knee problems are such a common occurrence among runners that the term “runner’s knee” was coined.
Also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee isn’t really a specific injury; rather, it refers to the aching pain caused by any knee problem.
Does this mean that all runners are doomed to experience knee injuries at some point in their lives? While it may seem like it, that’s not actually the case. Yes, you can still run and avoid painful knees. And we’ll tell you how.
But before we go into what you need to do in order to avoid knee pain while running, let’s first take a look at the factors that contribute to runner’s knee so that you’ll have a better understanding of the condition.
Causes of Painful Knees While Running
Knee pain among runners can be due to various reasons, including:
Overuse and stress on the knee joint.
Foot problems that can change one’s gait, including flat feet, overpronation, and hypermobile feet.
Bone malalignment. If any of the bones from the hip to the ankle are in the wrong position, the joint can be put under too much pressure and the kneecap will not move smoothly.
Weak or tight thigh muscles, which may cause the kneecap to move out of place.
A hit to the knee, such as from a fall.
How to Avoid Runner’s Knee
Fortunately, runner’s knee is not an inevitable condition. Below are some of the preventative measures you can take to keep on running pain-free.
Get strong. Some runners only focus on one form of exercise (i.e., running) and do not engage in other physical activities. This is a no-no, as it creates imbalance in the body and increases your risk of injury.
Running coach John Henwood recommends strength training and cross-training to prevent knee problems. He explains that a tight iliotibial band and weak inside stabilizing muscles can lead to knee issues. “You basically just want to strengthen your stabilizing muscles on the inside of the knee, keep the outside, the ITB, nice and loose.”
Henwood suggests allotting one day a week for resting, three to four days for running, and the rest for cross-training and strength training.
Stretch it out. Stretching is also helpful, according to Henwood. Because you’re always trying to get everything forward with running (think chest out and hips forward), you experience tightness in the lower back, piriformis, and iliotibial band, which ultimately affects the tracking of the knee.
So be sure to stretch the hips, piriformis, butt, and hamstrings before taking off, whether you’re going for a short jog or a long run. Doing so helps keep the knee and knee joint in place.
Bonus: Stretching helps prevent shin splints, hip injuries, and foot cramps as well.
Choose the right footwear. The shoes you run in could either increase or decrease your risk of injury. A good pair of running shoes is essential to an injury-free program.
When buying shoes, the brand and price shouldn’t be the only things you look at. Aside from cushioning and support, you have to make sure that the shoes fit your feet correctly. Just because a shoe is expensive, doesn’t mean that it’s the right option. In fact, there are plenty of affordable running shoes that are just as good or even better than their pricey counterparts.
Improve your technique. Because motor skills deteriorate over the years, even experienced runners need to be mindful of their running form and technique. You can enlist the help of a running coach or ask a friend to film you so you know what your weak areas are.
Health trainer and triathlete Sascha Wingenfeld also recommends running tall to engage your core and reduce tension on the iliotibial band, as well as working on your coordination and motor skills by running off-road.
Don’t overtrain. If you’re getting back into running after a winter break, don’t run too much too soon. Instead, start out slowly and increase your distance gradually. Orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr. Kevin Plancher advises adding your mileage by no more than 10 percent a week.
If you run all year round, you can overtrain if you run long distances frequently without taking breaks in between. Dr. Plancher suggests mixing short runs with the long ones.
Being obsessed with running, Chau Nguyen decided to build his own blog Running Addicted, a place where people just like him can come to get the best information, tips, and gear available. You can Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.