Knee pain is often caused by overuse or injury. If you’re experiencing knee pain, it’s important to treat it properly.
This article will provide some helpful information on how to prevent knee pain and other injuries when running.
The knees are the largest joints in our body. They consist of two bones (the femur and tibia) and three ligaments (patellar, medial collateral, and lateral collateral).
The patella is the large bone at the front of the kneecap. Knees are designed to support the entire body. When they become injured, they can cause pain and limit movement.
Knee pain can occur from overuse, injury, arthritis, or even cancer. However, a lot of knee pain can be a result of running.
In this article, we look at how to run without hurting your knees and what you can do to keep those knees healthy and working properly as an athlete right up until old age. Let’s jump in.
How To Protect Your Knees Whilst Running
Knees are very susceptible to injury during exercise. A common problem with runners is that their knees tend to get sore after long runs. It’s not uncommon for people to experience knee pain when they first start running.
Some people find that they have knee issues later in life, but there are things that you can do to help protect your knees right from the get-go, so you don’t experience pain when it’s too late to do anything about it.
1. Wear The Right Running Shoes
One of the most important things you can do to protect your knees whilst running is to make sure that your shoes fit correctly.
You should wear the correct size shoe. If you’re wearing too small a shoe, then your feet won’t fit inside them properly.
This means that your foot isn’t getting the right support. As a result, your muscles will work harder than necessary. This can lead to muscle strain and eventually injury.
You could also try switching to a different type of shoe. There are many types of running shoes available. For example, you could choose a neutral running shoe such as a road shoe.
These are usually less supportive than racing flats. On the other hand, you could opt for a cushioning shoe like a cross-trainer depending on what your running goals are.
You should also make sure that your socks are fitted correctly. Make sure that they don’t bunch up or rub against your skin. This can increase friction and put extra stress on your knees.
When you’re deciding your running gear, think about the kind of terrain that you’ll be running on. For example, if your route takes you through rough country, then you should probably go for a pair of trail shoes. Trail shoes are designed to deal with uneven surfaces and rocky ground.
Moreover, whatever the natural construction of your foot, there is a shoe that will fit and support it. Whether you are trying to deal with high arches or flat feet, your footwear can help you minimize knee injury.
If you are unsure what type of shoe you need, you can visit your local running store and ask for a gait analysis.
2. Change Your Running Style
You may also need to consider changing your running style if you find you are experiencing knee pain when running.
For example, if you’re using heel striking, then you might want to switch to mid-foot landing. This will reduce the pressure on your knees and give your legs more time to recover between each step.
Improving your posture as well as your hip and core strength can also help with knee pain. Running can put your body in a compromising position and knee pain is often associated with a lack of strength in the hips and core.
This is why posture and form are so important to pay attention to when learning to run.
3. Wear A Knee Support
One of the best ways to prevent knee pain is to wear knee supports. These are orthotic aids and reduce the impact of running on your knees.
They do this by stabilizing the kneecap and ligaments, tendons, as well as muscles. It can provide your knee with extra support and compression and this can help to prevent injuries and knee pain caused by instability of the knee.
There are many types of knee supports out there, and they can provide additional pressure on the outside of the knee which will prevent swelling and pain even if you have slightly injured your knee.
4. Stretch Before And After Exercise
It’s always good to stretch lightly before you begin any physical activity. Stretching helps prevent injuries and knee pain by loosening tight muscles. However, stretching doesn’t just apply to your muscles. It can also help loosen your joints and improve flexibility.
It’s best to do some static stretches after running, however, because this way you can get the maximum benefit from your workout. When you stretch, focus on lengthening all the muscles around the joint. Aim to hold stretches for 10 seconds each.
A lot of the tension found in the knee is a result of tight quads and hamstrings. Increasing blood flow by incorporating dynamic stretching into your routine before you begin to run can loosen muscles and static stretching after you’re home from your run can keep those knees healthy.
5. Use Ice Or Heat Therapy
If you have an injury, ice therapy can help speed recovery. Simply wrap an ice pack around the injured area for 20 minutes at a time.
Alternatively, heat therapy works similarly. Wrap a towel around your knee and place a hot water bottle inside. The heat will relax the muscle tissue and promote healing.
6. Avoid Overdoing It
If you’ve been training hard for months, then you might want to take some time off to let your body rest. Don’t overdo things and equally, don’t rush your training by progressing too quickly.
If you do too much exercise without giving yourself enough time to recover, then you risk causing further damage. Running 26 miles after only a month of training is going to do some serious knee damage.
You need to have a slow and steady training plan and work up to those big runs only when your body is ready.
Treat running like any other long-term goal and this will not only prevent knee pain but also burnout. Let your body adapt, and soon your knees will become used to long distances. The key to becoming a successful runner is understanding training is about time and patience first and foremost.
We hope after reading this article you have learned everything you need to know about running without hurting your knees and what you can do to support the knees whilst training.
The most important things to remember are to always stretch, wear a knee support when you need it and wear the right running shoes.
Ensure your form is correct and never rush into a training program that is too advanced for you. Take it slow and steady, rest when you need to and those knees should support you all the way!