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How To Avoid Knee Pain When Running

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Knee Pain When Running? | How To Avoid Runner’s Knee

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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.

Will Knee Pain From Running Go Away

When you are experiencing pain, that is your brain telling you that something is not right. Pain is not always present, it does not come or go away just because. The whole mindset of, no pain, no gain, is not literal and all pains should be looked into no matter how subtle they might be. Before we continue, it is important to note that your brain has two goals:

  • For you to live a long life after all, the survival of the species depends on it
  • For you to have the most pleasant day as possible, given what you throw at it
  • What sets us apart is the fact that we are highly adaptable. While there is a blueprint of movement that we are hard-wired to follow, this blueprint changes depending on our habits, injuries, and choices we make. This happens to minimize the amount of immediate pain that may be on the horizon. Over time, this new pattern becomes the norm and this is how functional movements become dysfunctional movements. Watch this video to learn more about this process.

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    What Causes Knee Pain From Running

    There are many scenarios that can result in knee pain as well as different types of knee pain. If youve had a recent injury or direct impact to your knee, this is what is referred to as acute pain. Knee pain can stem from different parts of the knee and my blog on Knee Pain Diagnosis breaks it down for you.

    For the sake of this blog, we will focus on chronic knee pain which is pain that has occurred over time, is possibly getting worse with time, and simply does not seem to go away. While this may be due to an old injury that was not properly treated, the most common cause of chronic knee pain in runners is dysfunctional movement of the whole body which can be identified in bad running form, but also in walking and any other movement.

    Causes Of Knee Pain From Runningand How To Prevent And Treat It

    How to Prevent and Treat Runner

    Whether youre lacing up for your first 5k, training for your next half-marathon, or enjoying an accessible way to get active, can be a rewarding way to stay fit, get competitive, and just escape the stresses of daily life for a little while.

    And while pounding the pavement offers plenty of incredible benefits for both your mind and your body, it can also often come with some less-than-desirable aches and pains. One particularly common complaint: knee pain.

    Its no new concept that running is a high-impact exercise, which means that your joints have to absorb and react to high levels of forceand repeatedly, explains Thanu Jey, DC, CSCS, Clinic Director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic.

    Because your knees bear the brunt of this stress, theyre a joint many a runner has had some trouble with at one point or another. Thing is, if youre experiencing knee pain while running, youve got to figure out what, exactly, is causing it so that you can show your joints the TLC they need to get back out there comfortably and keep logging those miles for years to come.

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    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 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:

    How To Prevent Knee Injury And Pain

    By far the biggest complaint I get from runners about running is that it’s so hard on their knees. Secretly, inside of me, I have my own complaint. It’s that running is blamed for all the knee problems when in actuality it’s not running that is causing the injuriesit’s the way people run.

    Every time someone’s knee goes out and their friends ask them how it happened, they’re quick to respond, “it happened the other day while I was running.” The truth is that if you can work on your running technique so that there is minimal impact or undue stress to your knees, you’ll never have knee problems. It’s as simple as that.

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    Foot Turnout Or Duck Walk

    Your feet are supposed to point straight on when standing, walking or running. With the duck walk posture, your body exhibits some imbalances which lead to outward rotation of the foot, tibia, knee and hip.

    The good news is that foot turn out deviations can be corrected to lessen strain on your knees.

    What Is Runners Knee

    How To Avoid Knee Pain While Running | Stop Runner’s Knee Fast

    Image credit:

    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:

    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?

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    Just Chilling How To Fight Acute Knee Pain

    If you get knee pain, its time to take a break from being active. Locate the pain and cool the surrounding tissue with ice several times per day. To make sure the tissue isnt damaged by the cold, wrap a towel around the ice. If possible, elevate your knee and reduce strain as much as you can. If the pain does not subside, go see a physician.

    Exercises stretching and strength training: During a run, all the leg muscles up to your buttocks are active. For improved performance and better protection against injuries, the muscles at the front and back of the thighs also need to be trained. One leg is usually stronger than the other. You should therefore do strengthening exercises, such as squats, on one leg and change sides. Otherwise, the stronger leg will work harder and the muscular imbalance will remain.

    To prevent injuries, stretching is just as important because stiff calf and thigh muscles apply pressure to the knee and can cause pain.

  • Stretching the thigh muscles: Stand in front of a chair and place your heel on it with your leg straight. Keep your back straight and slowly lean forward with your upper body by bending the hips. Lean forward until you feel a stretching sensation at the back of your leg. Remain in this position for 30 seconds, then change sides.
  • Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Run

    Theres research saying that running injuries are caused by mismatches between the structures of your knee.

    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:

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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.

    Running Analysis And Knee Pain Rehab At Nydnrehab

    Knee Pain When Running?

    NYDNRehab has a top-of-the-line 3D gait analysis system and a Zebris instrumented treadmill that measures ground reaction forces and pressure. These combined systems give us 27 pages of graphs and biomechanical performance data that helps us identify faulty running patterns.

    We also perform a battery of clinical tests related to running injuries, and we use our C.A.R.E.N system to analyze kinematic joint angle data and dynamic stability. Surface EMG lets us analyze muscle firing patterns to identify compensation mechanisms and correct them. We also use diagnostic ultrasonography to confirm our findings and monitor treatment results.

    In addition to pain and injury treatment and analysis, we offer physical therapy and chiropractic care, along with TeleHealth services for convenient remote patient care.

    If you are a runner with knee pain in NYC, schedule your running gait analysis at NYDNRehab today, and see why our knee pain doctors are considered the best in NYC.

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    How Can I Prevent Runner’s Knee

    • Keep your thigh muscles strong and limber with regular exercise.
    • Use shoe inserts if you have problems that may lead to runner’s knee.
    • Make sure your shoes have enough support.
    • Try not to run on hard surfaces, like concrete.
    • Stay in shape and keep a healthy weight.
    • Warm up before you work out.
    • Donât make sudden workout changes like adding squats or lunges. Add intense moves slowly.
    • Ask your doctor if you should see a physical therapist.
    • If your doctor or physical therapist suggests it. Try a knee brace when you work out.
    • Wear quality running shoes.
    • Get a new pair of running shoes once yours lose their shape or the sole becomes worn or irregular.

    Can I Run With Runners Knee Pain

    You should take time off from running when you notice the onset of runner’s knee, but you don’t have to quit exercise entirely. You can cross-train as long as the movement is pain-free. You’ll know that it’s safe to start running again when you’re able to run with a normal gait and without pain. If you find that you change your movement or compensate because of pain, you’re not quite ready.

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    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

    What Are Other Knee Injuries Runners Have

    How runners can avoid knee pain

    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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    Set Treadmill On A Moderate Incline

    You probably know that walking on incline can help you burn more calories. However, did you know that incline treadmill running could protect your knees?

    Most people dont know this but running on 0% incline is similar to running downhill, which puts more pressure on the knees than running on flat ground.

    Setting the treadmill on a high incline isnt safe either. It increases the shock on the knees and can even cause sharp knee pain.

    A moderate incline of about 3% is the safest for your knees. Anything higher than that may not be safe for your knees.

    Prevent Knee Pain From Running 4 Lean Forward

    If your knees are in pain while running, it could be that you need to change your formmore specifically, your trunk position.

    In fact, according to this research paper published in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, an increased trunk flexion may decrease compressive forces on the patellofemoral joint.

    In English: a slight forward lean while running reduces the load placed on the knees, which, in turn, cuts the risks of discomfort and injury at the joint.

    The Process?

    Opting for a slight forward lean while running may help shift your weight from the knees to the hip, thus reducing impact forces on the knees.

    That said, getting the slight forward lean right is a bit tricky.

    Here is how to do it right:

    Make sure that the lean, or the fall, is coming from the ankles, not the hips.

    It should feel almost like youre falling forward.

    You should not feel broke nor bent at the trunk.

    Allow your torso to come a bit forwardat least seven to ten degrees, according to the before mentioned researchwhile simultaneously flexing your hips and lower abdominals subtly.

    In other words, opt for a mild lean, not a complete bent-over position.

    Think skiers stance.

    Here is an awesome YouTube Tutorial

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    What Is Runner’s Knee

    Runner’s knee also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse injury that affects as many as 30% of female runners and 25% of male runners. That makes it the most common running-related injury.

    In runner’s knee, the cartilage in your kneecap gets irritated. This causes pain while you’re running, squatting, bending or even sitting for awhile. I often see patients come in with runner’s knee after they start running at an incline or increase miles or speed.

    Prevent Knee Pain From Running 1 Wear The Right Shoes

    How to Prevent Runners Knee

    The foot is a very complex part of the human anatomy.

    Its made up of 19 muscles, 26 bones, 107 ligaments, and 33 jointsand these take the brunt of a foot strike when running.

    Since running is a high impact sport that places a great deal of stress on the knees, wearing the right trainers not only helps you to run faster and longer, but may also reduce risks of pain and injury.

    A good running shoe is designed specifically to diffuse the load shooting up the rest of your leg.

    Just dont get me wrong.

    Im not suggesting that proper shoes are the ultimate solution to your knee issues.

    But its a start, and an important part of an overall prevention and treatment and plan.

    That said, I should also point outand this may surprise some of youthat the current research on the effectiveness of running shoes in improving performance and preventing overuse injury is, at best, mixed.

    This link provides you with more insight on the subject at hand.

    Yet, in my experience, a proper pair is non-negotiableregardless.

    Therefore, to stay safe, you got to find a shoe that fits your feet properly.

    More importantly, go for a pair that supports your natural foot typewhether youre neutral, high arched , or flat-footed runner.

    To find a suitable pair, head to your local running store and ask for a foot type and gait analysis, which will help you find what best matches your physiological and training needs.

    Also, be sure to replace your trainers regularly.

    Strength training is good for you.

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