Easy Ways To Treat And Prevent Runner’s Knee
Whether youre a leisure jogger or serious runner who racks up the miles, theres a good chance youve experienced knee pain, or runners knee, at some point.
Runners knee involves pain around or just underneath the kneecap. It develops slowly and may begin as swelling during or after running or pain going up and down stairs.
Fortunately, runners knee often can be treated at home. These tips can help you prevent runners knee, as well as alleviate knee pain, so you can get back on the road.
How Is It Treated
For most people, runner’s knee gets better on its own with time and treatments to address the problem thatâs causing your pain. To help relieve your and speed recovery, you can:
- Rest your knee. As much as possible, try to avoid things that make it hurt worse, like running, squatting, lunging, or sitting and standing for long periods of time.
- Ice your knee to ease pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain is gone.
- Wrap your knee. Use an elastic bandage, patellar straps, or sleeves to give it extra support.
- Elevate your leg on a pillow when you sit or lie down.
- Take , if needed, like ibuprofen or . These drugs help with pain and swelling. But they can have side effects, like a higher risk of bleeding and . Use as directed on the label, unless your doctor says otherwise.
- Do and strengthening exercises, especially for your quadriceps muscles. Your doctor can recommend a physical therapist to teach you what to do.
- Try arch supports or orthotics for your shoes. They may help with the position of your feet. You can buy them at the store or get them custom-made.
- If you try these techniques and your knee still hurts, ask your doctor if you need to see a specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon. Itâs rare, but you may need surgery for severe cases of runner’s knee. An orthopedic surgeon can remove or replace damaged cartilage and, in extreme cases, correct the position of your kneecap to send stress through the joint more evenly.
Avoid Duck Walk Tendency
Duck walk or foot turnout tends to cause strain on the lower body appendages starting from the foot, tibia, knee up to the hip. Usually, foot turnout results from excessive sitting and poor posture which causes the anterior pelvic to tilt. This deviation is then transferred to the knee, tibia and then the foot.
Since this condition is acquired from body imbalances it can avoided or corrected by following certain procedures.
Below is a video to help you fix your foot turnout tendency.
Comfort And Stability With The Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support
The breathable Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support, with anatomical fit and regulated compression, offers protection against excessive strain, improves movement control during running, and gently massages your ligaments, tendons and muscles with every movement. The combined compression and massage improve sensorimotor function. Reduce your risk of pain and injury with the Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support
Designed for improved performance & better protection: Bauerfeinds 3D AirKnit® is a highly-elastic knitted fabric providing medical-grade compression in a comfortable, durable knee brace. This compression supplies the knee joint with more oxygen to improve the bodys natural healing and regeneration for less pain and faster recovery times.
The 3D anatomical design ensures a perfect fit for the ultimate support. Air ventilation zones wick moisture from sweat to keep your skin comfortably cool, and the knit provides support without limiting your freedom of movement while running.
The Sports Knee Supports innovative patella pad absorbs pressure peaks provide you with positive sensorimotor feedback.
How To Avoid Knee Pain From Running
- How to Prevent Knee Pain from Running
Theres a reason why knee pain is often referred to as Runners Knee. Current statistics report that 30 50% of all runners get knee pain from running every year. Thats a pretty high number, and its one of the biggest reasons why running gets labeled as a high-injury sport.
I have my own take on running and its a little different. Its that running is blamed for knee pain when its not actuality running that causes problems. Its the way people run that leads to pain and injury. The truth is, if you can learn to run with proper running form, where there is minimal impact or undue stress to your knees, youll never have knee problems. Its a surprisingly simple fix, and entirely possible, contrary to what many people believe.
Here are some ways to improve your running technique, avoid knee pain, and insure that you can run for many more years without ever having to give it all up someday because your knees are toast.
Avoid heel striking
Dont over-stride and let your feet get ahead of you. Always make it a point to NEVER step past your knees, and learn to let your legs swing rearward, not forward. When your feet land in front of your knees, you putting on the brakes with every foot strike, sending a major impact to your knees, which were never designed to be shock absorbers.
Dont lift your knees when you run
Lean your entire body forward
Keep your knees soft and bent
Keep your feet aimed in the direction you are running
Know When To Take It Easy
Maybe you tweaked your knee again or feel it acting up? Learn to take your training down a notch.
When youre trying to treat runners knee you must know when to take it easy. Because pushing it too hard when injured doesnt do you any good.
So take a deep breath and dial back the miles, or the intensity, or the speed, or all 3 of those, and let your body heal.
So How Do I Make Knee Pain Go Away
Get VERY friendly with stretching and strengthening because theyre both going to become big parts of your life if you want to cut runners knee off at thewell, knees.
Recovering from runners knee is about “retraining the way that you move” and coming up with modifications that will allow you to go easy on your knees, says Meghan Cass, DPT, a physical therapist in Columbus, Ohio. And the best way to do that is with physical therapy.
Once a therapist has pinpointed the aggravating factorlike stiff ankles or the intensity of your exercise regimenshe can create a rehabilitative routine, says Cass. This might include modifying where you run or how deeply you lunge and squat.
You’ll also do moves that will strengthen your core and your inner thighs, or stretch your calves, in an effort to better position your knee for physical activity. A PT might also encourage you to mix different types of workouts into your regular routine, says Carter, such as yoga or swimming to replace a running or squatting session.
These methods wont act like vaccines though, Carter warns. Youll need continuous doses of knee-strengthening exercises to keep the pain from coming back.
And extra TLC, like icing the knee for 20 minutes, might also help, says Cass.
Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Run
Additionally, the same research says that 80% of these injuries are caused by overuse .
This makes so much sense because those imbalances flat feet, weak and/or tight muscles, rotated hips, poor running technique, etcetera alter the biomechanics of your knee. And, the more you subject your knee to these imbalances, the higher the chances that they get hurt. Age plays a factor, too, of course.
That being said, here are some of the most common knee injuries involved in this sport:
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Another question you might be asking is this:
Stretching Away From Runners Knee
To avoid being sidelined by knee pain, Deborah Lynn Irmas, a personal trainer based in Santa Monica, California, advises to warm up with a light jog before running. This helps your body ease into training.
Bring the same discipline from your workouts to your running routine. Stretch before and after you begin. Many health professionals stretching to reduce the risk of injury.
What Are The Symptoms Of Runner’s Knee
These are the most common symptoms of runner’s knee:
Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active. Or pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.
Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear when you bend and straighten your knee
Kneecap that is tender to the touch
The symptoms of runner’s knee may look like other conditions and health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Runners Knee Myth: My Kneecap Doesnt Track Properly
This is the most commonly cited cause of runners knee. The idea is that the patella tracks within the groove in your femur. But when it doesnt slide evenly in this track, you can end up with PFPS.
This tracking problem is why most treatments focus on
- strengthening the quadriceps
- stretching the IT Band
- using knee braces
- taping the knee
But unfortunately, theres no clear relationship between a tracking problem and your PFPS .
The patella is more dynamic than we give it credit for: it can move all over the place. If you lie down so your leg is straight and youre not holding any tension in your knee, youll notice the patella seems to hover over the knee joint. Manipulating it in all directions is quite easy.
Like many things in biology, theres no clear definition of what normal tracking is for the patella. Several studies have shown that tilting or displaced kneecaps during activity shouldnt be construed as abnormal. Indeed, abnormal may be normal!
Healthy knees do all kinds of weird things and its virtually impossible to tell an injured knee from a healthy knee by looking at the position of the patella.
So if your treatment focuses on correcting the alignment or function of your patella, you should find better treatment.
Could I Just Have Arthritis
Sure, especially if youre an older runner over the age of 55. Typical arthritis is due to wear and tear and you may be at a higher risk of developing arthritis if youve experienced a traumatic injury to the knee in the past.
Visit your doctor and get an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. But dont worry, just because you have some arthritis doesnt necessarily mean youre experiencing any pain. Degeneration of cartilage in the knee doesnt always cause pain while running.
Defer to your doctors prescribed treatment of arthritis, as it will be different from PFPS.
Buy New Running Shoes
You should replace your running shoes after 300 to 500 miles. Assuming you run 20 miles a week, that is every four to six months.
BUT, if you use your running shoes for walking too , you need to replace your running shoes more often. Personally, I replace my shoes every 3-4 months.
I personally love the Mizuno Wave 3 running shoes. My friend swears by the On Cloudace.
Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 23
On-Running Womens Cloudace
For detailed reviews of my top three other shoes, check out this article.
Prevent Knee Pain From Running 5 Increase Your Cadence
Another technique tweak to consider when dealing with knee pain from running is to to avoid overstriding.
So what is it all about?
When you overstride, youre, in essence, reaching too much forward with your legs as you swing them forward in front of your center of gravity
When you do, youll be slamming your foot down, creating a braking action with each stride.
Then, all of these impact stresses of hitting the ground goes right up your feet to your knees.
This, in theory at least, limits your efficiency and increases your risk of injury.
As a result, most experts agree on the fact that overstriding is bad.
Do not let your feet get ahead of you.
Make sure to stay ahead of your feet.
Do not let your legs swing forward, not to the rear.
Here is the good news:
Reducing stride length can put a stop to overstriding, thus decrease injury risk, research shows.
And one of the best ways to do so is to simply
In fact, research conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that an increased cadence reduces the impact load on the lower body.
Here is how to improve your cadence:
Determine your current cadence by counting how many times your feet hit the ground in one minute of running.
If its over 160, youre in the clear.
But, if your cadence is below 160 steps per minute, they should increase it by 5 to 10 percent from one week to the next.
For the full guide to improve running cadence, check my article here.
Training Tips For Pain
You can prevent excessive strain by preparing your muscles, tendons, and ligaments with a training plan that is tailored to your level of fitness. Only increase the complexity of your training slowly and ensure you take appropriate breaks. For healthy athletes without problems, an increase in training of ten percent each week is the golden rule. Athletes who have existing health issues or previous injury should increase their training by about five percent each week.
Get the right footwear if you want maximum performance: If you feel pain while running, you should have your foot and leg alignment checked by a professional. One cause can be a misalignment, for example, which can be countered with foot orthoses like the Bauerfeind Sports Insoles Run & Walk. Your running shoes must provide perfect support for your feet and cushion impact.
Find the best trails for your runs: Hilly trails put significantly more strain on your knees. When youre jogging downhill, the load is much higher than on a level surface. If youre getting back into running, or youre particularly prone to knee pain, you should avoid trails with changing height profiles. If part of your route does go downhill, you can reduce the impact on your knees by taking many small steps.
Keep An Eye On Your Running Technique To Prevent Knee Pain
The Most Common Running Pains And How To Avoid Them
If youre a runner, chances are you know a thing or two about pain. Whether its the pain of overtraining, the pain of a nagging injury, or the pain of missing a personal record by a few seconds, one thing is for sure: Regardless of its origin your body, your soul, or you ego it all hurts. The comforting news? Youre not alone. With running being the second most popular form of exercise in the world after walking, its no surprise that the prevalence of running injuries in the United States is between 19 and 79 percent. Thats a lot of people running around with some degree of ouch in their step!
While earning my Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree, a professor once told me, Pain is a privilege. While it may not always feel like it, pain is our bodys way of telling us that something isnt right. Not everyone has the privilege of feeling this built-in warning system, so for those of us who are lucky enough to get the uncomfortable signals that something is wrong, Id love to help you translate the message.
Despite all of us being unique snowflakes with our own imperfect biomechanics, here is a list of common running pains that unite us, and how to avoid them. Because, lets face it: being hurt can be uhhh a pain.
The pain: An achy and/or tight feeling anywhere along the muscle. It can feel like one part of your body is being pulled more on one side of your body, or like your alignment is slightly off.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome .
Dont Depend On Cushioned Shoes To Fix Your Knees
It is always better to fix any problems with your running form, from the inside out. Hence, the better option is to practice and adopt a proper running form instead of depending on cushioned running shoes, which may even exacerbate knee problems.
Overall, it is a good idea to go for one of the low-profile neutral shoes, that offer you basic support in running and try taking shorter stride for lesser impact. Make sure to give your body the time it needs to adjust towards a softer landing.
Lean Slightly Forward While Running
Improving your form can help you avoid knee pain while running on treadmill.
According to this study, leaning slightly forward while running reduces pressure on the knees. This means that your knee wont absorb a lot of shock in every stride you make.
Its your ankles, not the hips that should be leaning forward. The ankles should be slightly bent as if youre climbing a small hill.
Best Ways To Avoid Knee Pain While Running
The most common reason that knee pain occurs in beginner runners is due to lack of general conditioning. Pain can also be caused by muscle strength and adding too much mileage in training sessions too soon. This pain can be located on, in or around the knee cap.
There are a number of steps that beginner runners can take to prevent the onset of knee pain and injury while training:
Front Or Side Location Is The Main Obvious Difference Between It Band And Patellofemoral Pain
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two conditions is simply by the location of the symptoms. PFPS affects the kneecap and surrounding area, whereas ITBS definitely affects primarily the side of the knee .
The location of PFPS is less predictable, but it usually still has an anterior epicentre. ITBS does not spread much beyond its hot spot on the side of the knee.
ITBS has a specific definition: it refers only to strong pain on the side of the knee, at or just above the lateral epicondyle. Pain in the hip or thigh is something else. For more detail about this common point of confusion, see IT Band Pain is Knee Pain, Not Hip Pain
Ow! Damn! The side of my knee hurts!
every single IT band syndrome victim ever
Running After Meniscus Surgery Is That Even Possible
In the knee joint, the medial and lateral meniscus cushion impact. They guide the movements of the knee joint and stabilize the ligament structures. After meniscus surgery, you can put a load on your knee joint straight away of course, only as far as the pain will allow. Crutches are generally only used for a few days. Running is usually allowed after four weeks. Just to make sure though, speak to the orthopedic specialist who is treating you.
What Is Runners Knee
Image credit: Alignedmodernhealth.com
Runners knee, also known by its more scientific name as patellofemoral pain syndrome, refers to pain around the kneecaps that can be caused by running. Although non-runners certainly experience this issue too.
Without getting too science-y, knee pain happens when the patella is misaligned and rubs against things its not supposed to . This image shows where the pain usually occurs:
Image credit: Vivehealth.com/blogs/resources/runners-knee
Doctors and physical therapists generally agree that muscle weakness is the root cause of runners knee. Weak muscles cause various issues, like pelvis misalignment, and that results in the knee cap hitting the sides of the femoral groove because its not aligned correctly .
Hip, glute, quad and hamstring weakness are the main culprits.
But before starting a strength training regimen assess how much pain youre in now and read the next section before doing anything. Plus, we always recommend consulting a professional before beginning a strength training plan.
Hate Running Injuries?
Run On The Street Vs The Sidewalk
When possible, choose a running route in quiet neighborhoods with few cars, and then run on the street! Asphalt is easier on your joints than the sidewalk.
Just make sure to run facing traffic, and to always hop onto the sidewalk around blind corners.
If possible, run on the grass, dirt paths, or gravel. I live in Atlanta and run along the dirt path on the side of the Beltline, and then run around the active oval at Piedmont Park, which is gravel.
Causes Of Knee Pain And How To Fix Them
Sports doctor Jordan Metzl explains the most common knee injuries and how to manage them.
So you’ve got knee pain from running. Whether you’re a complete beginner, or you’re two weeks into your latest marathon training cycle, knee pain is frustrating. We spoke to sports doctor Jordan Metzl, who explains four of the most common causes of knee pain from running, and what you can do about them:
Five Tips For Preventing Runner’s Knee
With gyms closed, running has become the go-to cardio workout for many people looking to release stress, get their heart rates up, and enjoy being outdoors. While there are many benefits to running, first-time runners should be on the lookout for signs of stress on their body, says orthopedic surgeon , so that they can prevent injury.
Runners knee is one of the most common running-related knee injuries. The main sign is pain in the front of the knee. Its often caused by weakness of the core and hips.
Dr. Marx offers these helpful tips to prevent runners knee.
Before running, make sure to do a light warm-up followed by some stretching. Important muscle groups to focus on if youre concerned about your knees include the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Contracting the opposite muscle group at the same time can help improve your ability to stretch those muscles. For example, while stretching your hamstrings, contract your quadriceps.
Strengthening is very important, including not only hamstrings and quadriceps, but also the core and glutes. Plyometric strength, which involves jumping or explosive movements, can also contribute to injury prevention. Light weight training twice a week for as little as 10 to 15 minutes can also be very helpful. Exercises to try include squats, lunges, or farmers walk .
What To Do If Your Knees Hurt When Running
If your knees hurt when running, try these eight pro tips to heal faster .
1. Get fitted for the right shoes.
“The foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments, and these take the brunt of the pounding with each step of the day,” explains Pamela Kopfensteiner, D.P.T., physical therapist at Professional Physical Therapy in New Jersey. You need running shoes that support your natural construction-high arches, pronation, supination-and diffuse the impact shooting up the rest of your leg. Hit your local running store and ask for a gait analysis, which will tell you exactly what support you need, Kopfensteiner suggests.
2. Strengthen your hips and core.
You’ve probably heard by now that even if you’re a runner, you should be strength training . But there are certain areas to pay special attention to when it comes to preventing knee pain. A study of 400 healthy female runners found that, over two years, women who developed runner’s knee had much greater pelvic instabilitythat is, weakness in their hipscompared to runners who didn’t experience knee issues. Meanwhile, a study in the Journal of Athletic Training found that almost 80 percent of aching runners who strength trained with a focus on their hips and core or knees and thighs reported their knees hurt when running significantly less after just three or four weeks of lifting.
3. Don’t rush training.
4. Train off-road.
5. Lean forward.
6. Increase your stride rate.
7. Stay in control downhill.
Clinical Contributors To This Story
Alexander Russoniello, M.D. contributes to topics such as Hip and Knee Orthopedic Surgery.
During the pandemic, many people who enjoy working up a sweat have gravitated toward running, because they can exercise while safely spending time outdoors. Since running is a higher-impact form of exercise than walking, theres a greater chance of developing knee pain. Fortunately, you can take steps to lower your risk of developing knee pain while you run.
To ward off running-related knee pain or minimize discomfort when it strikes, try these ideas:
If you notice knee pain develop, take a break from running for a few days to allow yourself to heal. Within a week, if things dont improve, make an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of your knee pain.
Sometimes, knee pain may be a sign of inflammation, which may resolve on its own or with the help of physical therapy, but other times, you may have structural damage a tear, arthritis or another problem which may require a higher level of medical intervention, including surgery, says Alexander P. Russoniello, M.D., a hip and knee orthopedic surgery specialist at JFK University Medical Center. A trained orthopedic surgeon can determine the cause of your knee pain and offer you a plan of action to get you running again.