If You Can Rate Your Pain Under A 4 Out Of 10 Running On It Might Be Ok
That said, any small amount of pain is a signal to your body that there is likely a vulnerability, like a weakness elsewhere contributing to poor body mechanics. Weakness and tightness, thankfully, can be addressed with the right strengthening and stretching routine. If you dont address your symptoms, though, a relatively small pain from something like runners knee can lead to a more problematic, acute injury like a ligament tear. So, if you decide to run through the pain of something relatively minor like runners knee, make sure youre also addressing the cause of the problem.
And if your knee pain ever intensifies to the point where its difficult to perform daily activities, like walking or going up and down stairs, then running on it is not a good idea. Running forces you to load each leg one at a time with your full body weight, plus the force of gravity. Anything you feel while walking will be exaggerated and intensified with running, making your knee, along with the rest of your body, more vulnerable to injury.
Simple Ways To Prevent Knee Pain From Running
Would you like to learn how to prevent knee pain from running?
Then you have came to the right place.
Whether youre training to lose weight or for your very first marathon, running is an awesome way to get in shape and maintain good health.
Its good for your waistline, your heart, and even your brain.
At the same time, running comes with a certain degree of injury risk.
The high impact repetitive nature of the sport can place a lot of stress on your joints, especially the knees.
As a matter of fact, surveys show that up to 70 percent of runners may experience knee issues at a point.
Thats why for some people running is synonymous with knee pain.
This is especially the case if you drastically increase your running mileage too quickly, train with bad form, wear the wrong shoes, or have muscle imbalancescommon training blunders among all runners.
But is that enough reason to stop running altogether?
Of course: NO!
Simple Ways To Beat Knee Pain While Running
We all know that running is great exercise for our bodies, but often people stop due to knee or lower leg pain. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but usually ones that we are not aware of. Over 50 million Americans deal with some sort of knee trouble, as the knees are the second most common injured joint, the first being the joints in the spine. Therefore, it is essential to know what you can do to prevent knee troubles from even starting.
Common injuries with running or exercising:
- Patellofemoral pain
- Ligament injuries
Most all knee and leg pain can be attributed to the following issues:
- Poor muscular strength
- Imbalance of muscular strength with certain muscles stronger and others weaker
- Poor muscular coordination
- Poor biomechanics of walking / running
- Lack of flexibility
Dont push through pain
While feeling a stretching sensation or muscle burn is a normal part of exercising, feeling pain is not. Sharp or dull pain should be paid attention to and not pushed through. Make sure you are doing adequate warming up prior to exercising as muscles and tissues require internal lubrication to work properly. Warming up brings natural fluids to the area to help with lubrication, improving elasticity and function. In addition, make sure to properly stretch after exercising to ensure that flexibility is maintained and gained.
5 Ways to Improve Knee Pain
Seeing a specialist
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So How Long Should Recovery Take
Research suggests that doing exercises that strengthen the knees and hips 3 to 4 times a week for 6 weeks can help decrease knee pain.
But if nothing is working after 3 weeks and you still have significant pain, seeing a doctor or physical therapist is your best next step.
Starting with the exercises listed is sufficient for acute pain, says Win. From there, I typically would progress them into more functional exercises or runner-specific. This could be jumps, hops, and landing mechanics, which is important to implement before going full on running again.
You may need further evaluation with a CT scan, X-ray, or MRI to determine if there is an underlying cause.
Win also mentions that recovery really depends on the individual and the diagnosis behind the knee pain. Typically, recovery can take about 6 weeks.
Running Knee Pain Questions
What Causes Outside Knee Pain Running? 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.
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.
With Runners Knee there tends to e a general ache at the front of the knee and pain comes and goes, typically worse after prolonged activity or more surprisingly prolonged inactivity e.g. sitting for long periods.
Is It Safe To Run On Sore Knees?If you are getting knee pain when running, it’s usually your bodies way of saying you are doing too much. It might be a simple case of changing your shoes, easing up on your training regime, or switching to off-road.
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Runners Knee Is The Most Common Culprit Of Running
According to research, approximately 25 percent of running-related injuries are attributed to patellofemoral pain syndrome , or runners knee. In my experience, the number of women affected by this condition is significantly higher than the number of men due in part to the angle that womens wider hips create at the knee joint. Runners knee can feel like a dull, diffuse ache in and around the kneecap. It is caused by muscle imbalances that cause the knee cap to shift out of place as you bend and straighten your leg, ultimately leading to irritation in and around the joint.
Runners knee can often lead to chondromalacia, a condition that develops when the cartilage under the kneecap becomes rough with repeated wear and tear. This roughening causes increased friction below the joints surface, leading to irritation, inflammation, and pain.
IT band syndrome is also an overuse injury. The IT band is a band of fascia that extends from the hip to just below the knee. It acts as a stabilizer during running, and overuse or a quick increase in training volume can cause it to become irritated.
The Top Seven Ways To Treat Your Runners Knee
Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to get some relief from the pain while your knee heals. For many people, these strategies will also speed up recovery times, so they can get back to their regular workout schedule sooner. So lets find out what is the fastest way to heal runners knee?
#1 Rest the knee.
First and foremost, you must rest your knee so that it can heal. Can I run on runners knee? Avoid doing any type of activity that causes pain. That means no running, no lunges, no squats, and no standing for extended amounts of time. Sometimes, even sitting for a long time can make it hurt worse. Whatever the activity is, if it causes pain, dont do it until the injury is completely healed!
#2 Ice is your friend.
Ice is a great way to treat pretty much any sports-related injury. It can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation thats causing the pain. Reducing inflammation will also help the injury to heal faster. Try icing your new for about 20 minutes at a time, every three hours or so, until the pain is completely gone.
#3 Provide some support.
Providing some support for your knee can really help to provide some relief for the pain, and it may even help it heal faster. Try wrapping your knee with an elastic bandage or wearing a knee brace to give it some extra support.
#4 Elevate your knee.
#5 Wear arch supports.
#6 Give acupuncture a try.
#7 Surgery should be a last resort.
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How Can I Prevent Runners Knee
- Keep your thigh muscles strong and limber with regular exercise.
- Use shoe inserts if you have problems that may lead to runners 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.
Lean Forwards Slightly As You Run
Okay, lets take a slightly different approach and think about your running technique for a moment.
Researchers looking at patellofemoral joint stress in running have identified that a slight forward trunk lean when running can reduce peak patellofemoral joint stress by more than 10%.
Admittedly, it was a small study with only 24 participants, but it strengthens the concept that how you run will influence the stress and strain that joints and tissues experience as you run. Your running technique matters!
Running with a slight forward lean is certainly something that most elite runners have mastered, and helps to prevent you from over striding, by moving your centre of mass forwards, closer to over your point of initial contact.
Heres a video I made to help you work on your forward leaning running technique:
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What If You Already Have Knee Pain Or Osteoarthritis
It is not clear whether continuing to run with knee pain or osteoarthritis is bad for your knees, and many researchers around the world are exploring this question. But continuing to run, if you can, will help achieve the many health benefits of regular physical activity, including preventing at least 35 chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression. In general, runners live three years longer than non-runners. And the benefits of running are independent of other things, such as age, sex, weight, alcohol and smoking In other words, if two people regularly smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol excessively, and one of them was a runner, the runner would still live longer than the non-runner.
Running is an activity that can be done outdoors in most parts of the world and requires minimal equipment. And health benefits can be achieved with as little as 50 minutes running a week. During the pandemic, the fact that it can be done alone without the help of others further increases its attractiveness and ensures people can continue to participate to stay healthy.
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
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Can Someone With Pfp Syndrome Play Sports
Most people with PFP syndrome need to cut back or stop sports for some time. Follow the health care provider’s instructions on when it’s safe for you to go back to sports. This usually is when:
- Hip, leg, and core strength is near normal.
- Flexibility, especially in the hamstring muscle, has improved.
- There’s no pain with everyday activities, such as walking and going up/down stairs.
- Any pain with activity is very mild and goes away within a few minutes of starting the activity.
Check Your Running Form
Bad running form will bite you in the butt. Well, the knee, in this case.
Read up on proper running form tips to see how you fare.
Alternately, get evaluated by a professional so you know exactly what to fix based on an in-person analysis.
How can bad running form cause runners knee?
Again, it goes back to alignment.
If your form is off, your muscles arent being used properly. Certain muscles are probably being used too much, or improperly, which can cause force on the kneecap, or mess with its movement. Which causes knee pain.
So focus on maintaining proper running form and youll improve your chances of preventing runners knee too.
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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:
Practice Balance And Stability
When our hips arent aligned well, our muscles are unable to work well. When they are weak, they force others to work harder. As mentioned above, when the hip is weak and unstable the knee is picking up a role it is not built to perform. Therefore, working on single leg stance and reactions are key. for easy balance exercises to perform at home. Finally, it is important to strengthening our hip abductors. Performing exercises such as hip hikes, clam shells, lateral walking just to name a few are crucial in developing balance and stability at the hip level.
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When To See A Doctor
If theres any swelling at the knee joint, get it checked out by a doc, Kaiser suggests. They can pinpoint exactly whats causing the issue and rule out any structural damage, as well as provide a gait analysis to help improve your run mechanics. Also, if you experience the pain and start doing the above-mentioned strengthening and stretching work, and it doesnt improve in a few weeks, then its time to see a pro.
If you have a big race coming up, we can also help speed up recovery, she says. Its not a bad idea if youre looking to push your pace and dont want to worry about discomfort.
Pick The Correct Running Shoes For To Save Your Knees
Picking the right pair of running shoes can be really challenging, thats for sure! However its such an important part of you being able to run without knee pain.
Your knees, and the patellofemoral joints in particular thrive on stability and alignment of your knees to be able to function properly, without knee pain as you run. That stability comes from the joints above and below the knees, namely the hips, feet and ankles.
Ill talk more about hip stability later in this article. However, when it comes to the foot and ankle, the stability provided by the inherent characteristics of your feet and your choice of running shoes will massively influence the way your patellofemoral joint loads as you run.
Because of the repetitive nature of the running gait cycle, small areas of overload around your knees caused by a bad footwear choice, will build-up over time and potentially cause you knee pain, or another injury.
The best advice I can realistically give you without seeing your feet, is to get yourself to a specialist running store. Not one of the big-box sports outlets, but a proper old school running shop with staff who actually run and geek-out about running shoes.
Theyll be able to look at your running gait and suggest the right amount of support, cushioning, heel-to-toe drop etc you need in a running shoe to accommodate your individual biomechanics.
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