Preventing Runner's Knee

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Techniques to prevent knee problems resulting from endurance running

Runner’s knee got its name for an unfortunate reason. A frequent problem with runners, it begins with a sharp pain slightly above or below the kneecap. The discomfort can hamper your training – it can even leave you completely sidelined for months if you do not take proper precautions.

Your knees are affected by an improper running routine and it is important to redesign your running regime to keep it pain-free. During running, the knee cartilage is subject to wear and tear. There is pressure on your ligaments, joints, tendons, patella, and menisci. However, with the correct posture and supporting footwear, you can enjoy a running regimen that will last a lifetime. Below are some unique ways you can make it happen.

Wear the Right Shoes

Every time you run, the complex network of bones, muscles, and joints in your lower body hits the ground with a certain amount of force. This is why you should always wear shoes that complement the natural shape of your feet. The high arches, supination, ups and downs and pronation all need to be well-supported.

Wearing the wrong shoes is the most common cause of running injuries. Ergonomically designed shoes, on the other hand, minimize the impact on your knees and rule out painful injuries and other joint conditions. To find the pair of shoes that fit the bill, stop by at your local running shop and ask for GAIT analysis.

Maintain Strong hips and core

Besides a hardcore runner, you might be a strength training fan. While weight training is beneficial for many reasons, you need to focus on certain areas of the body more than others namely your hips and core.

It is seen that pelvic instability increases the risk of runner’s knee. On the other hand, runners with a strengthened core and lower body report less knee pain than others.

For women, the hips and core are the most important. The science of running explains how your core plays an important role in stabilizing your body. When both feet are in mid-air momentarily during running, you must land on the ground with the least possible impact.

Core strengthening as stated earlier reduces landing impact and prevents injury to your knee joint.

Ideally, you should do at least two strength training sessions a week. Start with easy moves such as planks, fire hydrants, medicine ball core rotations, side planks, clamshells and open chain hip abduction. You can then move to single-leg landing, jumping lunges and jump squats. Later, add in uphill sprints to the routine.

Don’t rush it

You probably want to ‘amp up’ your mileage to prepare for the upcoming marathon, but this is the worst mistake you could do. Remember, your body needs time to get used to the new training. Despite your brain screaming for you to bring it on, be considerate of your joints. The best rate to increase your training gradually is 10% from the previous week.

Avoid the mono-terrain

By switching from pavement to grass, you can improve joint strength and muscle stability. This is one reason runners prefer running on grass. Ideally, you should change your terrain at least once a week. You should never run on sand. As dreamy and romantic as it sounds, it is damaging to your calf muscles.

Always lean forward

You need to bring your best foot forward to win at running (pun intended). You need the correct attitude and posture! Leaning slightly forward results in the even distribution of body weight which decreases the impact on your knee joint.

Take quicker strides

Quicker strides can decrease both cumulative and acute pressure on your knee by 30%. Plus, by taking shorter steps, you can decrease the impact on the kneecap. There is no optimal number that measures your pace. However, keep it above or equal to 160 paces per minute. Gradually the pace by five to ten percent weekly.

Rectify your running technique

An improper running technique like over-striding can cause the knee cartilage to deteriorate. Once you have supportive well-cushioned shoes, it is time for you to improve your running technique. Keep the following in check when you are running:

  • Your running form: Observe the way you run and move forward from there. You can ask sports scientists (yes, they exist) or a running coach for analysis. It is always helpful to have a best friend around especially for this. Ask them to make a video so you can watch your movements.

  • Straighten up: You have to keep your back upright while running. This engages the core and decreases tension in your knees.

  • Coordination Optimization: All it means is that you need to regularly change your running surface. Get off the clichéd paved roads and run cross-country through the fields and woodlands as this can improve your body balance and coordination. What’s better is that it can boost your motor skills for running.

Over-striding will only hurt your joints. This means you should never allow your feet to get ahead of you. If you stretch your legs to reach forward, you are bound to land heel first. This kind of posture puts unwanted pressure your knees which were never made to absorb shock. To rectify this, lean using your ankles so that your stride breaks behind you.

Bonus tip

Change your running shoes after 500-600 miles.

Author Bio

Zyana Morris is a passionate blogger who loves to write about prevailing health, fitness and lifestyle trends. She is a featured author at various blogs and currently associated with Centra Care Florida, a Tampa urgent care provider. Follow @ZyanaMorris for more updates.


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date: June 30, 2018

Team BT