Ways On Preventing Knee Pain After Running
While there are many benefits to running, the reality is that every stride taken puts some type of stress on your knees. It is common to experience some knee pain after running, but if that pain continues for long periods of time, particularly after you have done basic treatment , then it may be time to seek professional assistance.
Runners knee is a term frequently used as a blanket expression to describe multiple disorders or injuries. Whether you run for exercise or choose to compete, understanding the types of disorders or injuries that cause knee pain after running is a good idea.
How To Fix Inner Knee Pain
If youve got pain from running, generally there are two things you should do: modify your training load and gradually increase strength in the relevant muscles with resistance exercises. If youve got bursitis, it might be worth taking some time off to let it calm down, but simply reducing your pace or substituting a few workouts with easy runs might be enough to get your knee to relax if its just a little overloaded.
When the pain settles down, these 3 exercises can build the strength you need. Stronger tissues have a higher tolerance to training. If you commit to regular strengthening, youll be able to keep inner knee pain away, hopefully for good!
Exercise 1: Split Squats
Why it works: Squats fix everything, especially when it comes to knees. Focusing on one leg at a time will allow you to identify and fix any difference in strength between your quads. Exercises like this are currently the best thing science has to offer for those with inner knee pain .
Exercise 2: Eccentric Hamstring Bridges
Why it works: because inner knee pain from running often involves the pes anserine and the hamstring attaches to the pes anserine, strengthening the hamstring is critical to improve your knees ability to handle running training. The hamstring responds best to eccentric exercises and this is the best eccentric hamstring exercise you can do without equipment!
Exercise 3: Single Leg Bridges
Why Is It So Common
So why is knee pain from running such a common problem? Around 75% cases of knee pain from running are due to chronic problems from overuse, often linked with muscle imbalance and altered biomechanics.
The other 25% of cases of knee pain from running are due to a one-off injuries.
Knee pain from running is generally caused by a combination of these factors:
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Back Of The Knee Pain Caused By Bakers Cyst
A Bakers cyst will cause a lump at the back of your knee along with pain and discomfort.
The cyst that forms at the back of your knee is usually caused by arthritis or tearing a cartilage. This results in a buildup of fluid that causes a lump behind your knee.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the swelling behind your knee can be a cause of knee pain. You will probably find it difficult to flex the knee and your symptoms may be worse after physical activity. To treat a Bakers cyst, doctors usually drain the fluid to reduce the swelling and ease knee discomfort.8
What Are Other Knee Injuries Runners Have
Athletes can also have injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament , posterior cruciate ligament , collateral ligament, meniscus, cartilage and tendons. While these aren’t as common in runners, they’re still serious and require medical attention.
Knee injuries range from minor to serious, so it’s important to take a break from running and see your healthcare provider if pain persists.
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Staying Motivated If You Have An Injury
Being injured can be very frustrating. If you’re new to running, you might be tempted to give up at the first sign of injury.
Andy says that having a specific goal, such as a 5km race or charity run, will help you stay motivated through injury.
“If you have something to work towards, you’ll be much more likely to get back into running once you’ve recovered.”
Running with a partner is also a great way to stay motivated. If they carry on running while you’re injured, you’ll want to get back out there once you’re better as you will not want to let them down.
Running Knee Pain Questions
People often have lots of questions about knee pain from running so let’s look at some of the most common ones:
What Causes Outer Knee Pain Running?
The most common cause of outer knee pain when running is iliotibial band syndrome – an overuse injury causing inflammation of the ITB. It can usually be self-treated with rest, ice, exercises and wearing a knee strap.
Outer knee pain from running can also be caused by iliotobial bursitis – inflammation of the bursa that sits between the ITB and the underlying bone.
What Causes Inner Knee Pain After Running?
Inner knee pain when running may be a sign that you are overloading the cartilage on the inner side of the knee which can result in a meniscus injury. Altered foot biomechanics, decreased knee stability and poor glutes strength all affect the angle of the knee so more force goes through the inner side of the knee. There’s generally a sharp pain that comes and goes.
Another possibility is pes anserine bursitis which causes inner knee pain about 2cm below the knee cap.
What Causes Front Knee Pain When Running?
The most common cause of pain at the front of the knee when running is Runners Knee. It develops when there is excess friction on the back of the kneecap, usually due to a problem in how the kneecap moves as you run.
What Causes Knee Pain After Running In Beginners?
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Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace
Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.
You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.
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Corrective Measures To Prevent Knee Pain
There are steps you can take to minimize knee pain after running, including:
- Choose the correct footwear make sure your shoes are fitted for you and seek advice from people who work at shops that specialize in running shoes.
- Train wisely choose a training schedule that is appropriate for your experience and fitness levels. If you are trying to train too fast, consider choosing a different running event rather than pushing too hard. Most injuries occur from overtraining and pushing beyond appropriate limits.
- Train pain free pushing through the pain can lead to more serious injuries. Your body tells you something is wrong when you are in pain, so pay attention to the signs and perform appropriate measures to prevent injury.
- Keep stretching simple and powerful. Continue stretching to improve flexibility and prevent painful conditions.
- Foam Roll foam rolling to the gluteal muscles, thighs, and calves helps to increase range of motion, decrease pain, and helps to promote health to the connective tissues that impact the knee.
- Corrective Exercise strength and endurance of the gluteal muscles stabilize the hip and decrease the biomechanical stress on the knee. Make sure to use resistance bands while performing bridges, clamshells, reverse clamshells, and lateral walks.
Is There A Best Pain Reliever For Osteoarthritis
- By Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D., Contributing Editor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Osteoarthritis affects tens of millions of Americans and is a leading cause of disability and reduced quality of life across the globe. Other than joint replacement surgery, there is no known cure for OA, and most treatments focus on relief of symptoms such as pain. Often, the first step is non-medication-based approaches such as physical therapy, exercise, and weight loss. Most patients, however, will eventually use pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Other kinds of medication, such as opioids, have also been tested as treatments for OA, and there is ongoing debate about what treatments are best.
What To Do If Youre Experiencing Knee Pain After Running
If youre currently experiencing knee pain while running, I recommend backing off training and consulting a doctor as soon as possible.
This will help get you properly diagnosed which will allow you to start getting treatment right away. Your doctor will perform a physical exam on your knee to check the area for redness, tenderness, swelling, and inflammation.
You may also be advised to get diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to rule out other possibilities and/or confirm your diagnosis.
If the pain isnt sharp, but more nagging you might be able to go directly to a Physical Therapist to get exercises that will help.
Hopefully this gave you some places to start in figuring our your knee pain from running and how to resolve it.
Looking for more training tips?
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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.
Exercises To Help Relieve Knee Arthritis Pain
The most common cause of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis, which becomes more common with increasing age. Over time, the cartilage in your knee joint wears away causing pain and tenderness while using your knee.
The stronger your leg muscles are, the more they can help cushion your knee joint during impact and during exercise, explains Dr. Brooks.
But, youve likely already noticed that some common leg-strengthening workouts, such as running or jumping, actually worsen your knee pain.
High-impact weight-bearing exercises arent recommended for people whose knee pain is due to arthritis, says Dr. Brooks.
Instead, Dr. Brooks recommends improving your knee mobility by stretching regularly especially your quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles and increasing your knee stability by performing low-impact leg strengthening exercises, such as:
- Riding an exercise bike
- Using an elliptical
- Water-based workouts, such as walking, high-stepping, kickboarding or other exercises you can perform while holding on to the ledge of the pool
Performing water-based exercise is a really good way for a person with arthritis in the knee to maintain his or her overall fitness, explains Dr. Brooks. The buoyancy effect of water can relieve the pressure on the joints, making conditioning and strengthening exercises much more comfortable.
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Running Injuries: Knee Bursitis
The knee has 11 bursa or small lubricating sacks. Irritation of the bursa can also cause knee pain. One of the more common running injuries to the knee is pes anserine bursitis. This refers to irritation of the bursa located between the tibia and the three tendons of the hamstring muscle at the inside of the knee. This irritation can stem from overuse and friction, resulting in inside knee pain with running and other repetitive activities.
Again, tight hamstrings and being bowlegged can increase ones risk of developing this injury, as can obesity or osteoarthritis. Suddenly increasing ones distance or the number of hills in ones run can also increase ones risk of bursitis-related pain in the knee after running.
Bursitis knee pain from running typically develops gradually inside the knee and/or near the center of the shinbone a few inches below the knee joint. The intensity of the pain often increases with activity or climbing stairs.
Dont Let Knee Pain Keep You Down
Sitting for extended periods of time may cause knee pain or stiffness, especially if you have an injury or are suffering from chronic pain. You can also seek medical treatment, such as heat and ice, to alleviate your pain. It is critical to seek medical attention if your knee is experiencing significant pain or if other treatments do not work.
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Inside Knee Pain After Running
What do we mean when we refer to the “inside” or “inner” knee? Good question. There are a few different parts of your knee that can be injured or irritated from exercise, particularly running.
The inside knee is the relatively small area on the inside of the leg closest to your other knee. So for your left knee, this area would be to the right of the kneecap.
Others runners that have experienced this pain refer to it as a “twinge”, “nagging pain”, or “ongoing soreness” rather than a sharp or shooting pain. But everyone experiences muscle and joint pain differently. If any of these terms accurately describe how the inside of your knee feels, keep reading.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.
The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.
Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.
Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.
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How To Fix Runners Knee
Running and knee pain do not have to be permanently linked there are a number of steps one can take to alleviate runner knee pain. However, just what helps will vary depending on runners knee causes and the person. The following are some general guidelines when it comes to how to heal runners knee. However, this is in no way intended as a substitute for professional advice.
Resting the knee and giving it a chance to heal are some of the first steps for runners knee recovery. Protecting the vulnerable knee is another priority when it comes to knee problems from running.
Knee pads for running may be a good option for some, especially those involved in contact sports.
Some knee sleeves for running can also help with patellar tracking, similar to athletic bandages or Kinesio tape for runners knee. Such knee orthotics for runners knee are much simpler to apply than learning how to tape a knee for running.
Besides rest, healing runners knee may well involve elevating and icing the knee as well as applying compression. These steps can help bring down knee swelling after running. The latter also promotes blood flow and healing. A knee sleeve for running will apply beneficial compression. Some choose to wear such products as a way of preventing runners knee.
Crossed Leg Side Bend Stretch
How To: Place your weight in one leg and then cross the opposite leg in front and stick your hip out to the side with your arm over head.
Why? This is one for your tricky to stretch IT band . All the muscles around the side of your hip and thigh will also pull on your knee joint if they become tight.
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What Causes Knee Pain When Running
There are a variety of knee injuries from running or conditions that may make the knee hurt after running or during the act. When and where such pain develops can be telling as to what is causing knee running pain.
Alignment issues can be either a direct or indirect cause of knee pain and running. Flat feet or overpronated feet can lead to knee pain while running or after running as this causes alignment issues with the kneecap. Similarly, unbalanced, tight or weak leg muscles may cause alignment troubles and result in running knee pain.
Such problems can also increase ones risk of a subluxated or a complete or partial kneecap dislocation, which can cause substantial runners knee pain.
Major increases in distance or pace can cause knee pain after running or during running. Overdoing it can strain or irritate the soft tissues of the legs and knee, causing knee pain after running or while one is running. Not surprisingly, new runners often experience knee pain.