One of the most common problems that all runners face is the fear of developing the pain in their knees. Sometimes the pain can be so much that it can really put you off from any kind of exercise.
This, in turn, can have many physical as well as psychological effects on you; especially in the case, if you have been an outdoor kind of person who loves jogging running as part of a normal day to day routine.
Therefore, it is very important to take measures to prevent knee pain while running.
Reasons for Knee Pain While Running
There can be many reasons for aches and pains in our knees as well as ankle joints. While most of us might think that it is running that leads to the knee injury; nothing can be far from the truth.
Quite to the contrary, running may actually help you maintain good health as far as knee and ankle joints are concerned provided we take appropriate precautions.
More often than not, one of the main reasons why we have pain in the knees is because of wrong running technique.
While we are young we may be able to circumvent any such issue, it is quite another thing when it comes to management of knee pain as we grow older.
One thing that is certain is that we should never neglect even the smallest of discomfort in the knee and take immediate remedial actions. You may have to consult a good physiotherapist or even a doctor when such an eventuality arises.
How to Prevent Knee Pain While Running?
- The running posture
It is important to work on your running technique to have minimal impact and stress on the knees.
It is quite a well-known fact that a proper posture can prevent any kind of injury and can actually make running a pleasure. For this, you should lean forward a little while running so that the load on your knees reduces. That way they will not be affected by the shock of each step landing as you pound your way along the pavement!
- Proper Strides
The strides should be medium to short when you run.
While they this may appear to be slightly strange at first, but it is a fact that the long strides lead to the greater impact of lending and thus cause injury to the knees. It is also more stressful for the entire leg.
Short strides will help you maintain a proper running posture as described above, for a longer time.
So the next time you go for running make sure you count the number of steps that you take per minute. Anything less than 65 steps per minute indicates that your strides are too long and you may be prone to knee injury sooner or later.
- Go slow and steady
Most of the injuries take place because of the stress that develops when we practice or exercise for an abnormally long time.
It is important to run gently and at a constant pace in order to maintain good healthy knees.
Running fast and in short spurt is a sure recipe for disaster for any runner as far as aggravating the pain in the knee is concerned.
The importance of proper movement preparation – the pain in our knees is generally due to the improper preparation by way of warming up and also by restricted movement of the ankles.
Once the body has warmed up it is easy to run for a long time. However, it is common to see that some runners start sprinting right from the beginning even before their body has warmed up. This leads to lesser movement in the ankles; thus putting more pressure on the knees when your feet land on the ground.
Specific Exercises to Prevent Knee Pain While Running
For any runner, it is important to lay stress upon specific exercises that lead to stretching and strengthening of the muscles of the thigh and the tendons in the knee.
The following simple exercises’ go a long way to help prevent knee pain while running.
Down Dog Exercise –
- Roll out a mat and get down on it on your knees and hands.
- Slowly raise your knees still they are straight and your entire body is supported on your feet and the hands
- Stretch your ankles upward so that not the body weight shifts to the hands as well as only the toes of your feet with the ankles lifted Off the Ground
- Then slowly bring your hips back down onto the ground so that your legs get fully stretched from the ankles right up to the hip joint.
- Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times.
Reverse Lunge & Overhead Reach Exercise
- Start by standing Street with both the feet together and hands on the sides
- Take left leg back about 2 feet and when the other leg slightly so that the leg which is stretched back is straight.
- Now move your left arm upwards straight up above your head and maintain this position for 10 counts
- Slowly bring the arm down and the left forward and repeat the same with the other leg and the arm.
- Do this 8 to 10 times. It will make stretch the muscles of the legs.
Knee Forward Hugs
- Start the exercise by standing straight and bringing the left knee up with the left foot going slightly across and above.
- As the knee comes upwards hold it below the shin and pull it further towards your stomach
- Keep it there for some time and slowly release it
- Do the same with the other me and follow this procedure for 5 to 8 times for both sides
Importance of Regular Massage of the Legs –
To prevent any injury and pain, it is important to ensure proper flow of blood to the knees and the legs. Hence massage is an important part of a regular routine as far as the good muscular health of the legs and knees is concerned. Wearing of knee sleeves also helps.