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.
Understanding Medial Knee Pain
Pain in the inner knee, also known as medial knee pain, can prevent you from walking and running normally. Sometimes, inner knee pain after running is called runner’s knee, although the medical community accepts runner’s knee as a generalized pain around your knee that comes on while running.
Your inner knee pain can come on suddenly or gradually, and it may occur without any specific traumatic event. It may happen when you are not running. It is often managed conservatively with stretches and strengthening exercises, but some people benefit from more invasive treatments such as injections or surgery.
Symptoms of runner’s knee may be varied and may include:
- Pain in the medial aspect of your knee joint
- Swelling in your knee
- Sharp pains underneath your kneecap
- Difficulty running, climbing stairs, or rising from a seated position
Inner knee pain is usually intermittent and occurs during running or immediately after running, or it may come on from any activity that puts stress through your knee joint. The pain can limit your ability to painlessly bend or straighten your knee, and it often occurs during weight-bearing activity such as stair climbing.
Why Can Running Cause Knee Pain
One of the main causes of knee pain is running. This is not because running is a particularly dangerous exercise, but because it is a popular form of exercise its easy to do close to home, and you dont need a gym membership or fancy equipment.
This is why knee pain that results from exercise is often called runners knee, even though other exercises can also cause sore knees.
Knee pain during or after running can be caused by a number of factors – weight, technique, over-exercising, or a poorly healed injury. Read my blog post on knee pain after running for more information.
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Pain In Side Of Knee When Walking Downhill
Unfortunately, its not just runners that experience pain in the knees when going downhill. Walking is another form of exercise that can cause pain in the side of the knee when walking downhill.
Even though walking downhill may be a breeze, it still adds stress to your joints and muscles. So its not uncommon to experience mild symptoms of knee pain while walking.
If you experience pain in the side of the knee when walking downhill, you first need to check the cause of this.
A large portion of the medial knee injuries comes from:
Iliotibial band syndrome
IT band tendonitis Arthritis
While most of these are mild to extreme injuries, you may just be experiencing overuse symptoms from walking too much.
Just like running, walking downhill places a lot of stress on the quadricep muscles and joints, so doing too much of this may result in inflammation or tight muscles.
However, unstable footwear and poor supporting muscles can be another cause of discomfort. So make sure you have the correct footwear and think about strengthening the muscles around the knee and quadriceps.
If you experience more extreme symptoms and the pain is just not limited to walking downhill, it is wise to see a physiotherapist who will help treat and diagnose the problem. important
What Is Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee also called patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when a tendon is overloaded, causing it to thicken. I see this most often in younger patients who complain about pain in the front of the knee.
It can be especially painful when you squat, jump or land. Jumper’s knee typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood.
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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.
How Do I Know If I Have Runners Knee
Runners knee is characterized by knee pain after running in a very specific location. Like lateral knee pain being correlated with IT Band Syndrome, theres a particular location for knee pain that makes it highly probable you have runners knee.
If your pain is directly on or along the outside edges of the kneecap, you most likely have PFPS. The pain is typically a dull ache but can occasionally be sharp it feels like its located deep underneath the patella.
Along with the location of the pain, PFPS sufferers typically have more pain when theyre
- walking up stairs
- after prolonged periods of sitting down
- while pushing on the kneecap
Its important to note that PFPS is different from patellar tendonitis, which is an entirely separate injury characterized by pain in the patellar tendon. This is the thick tendon that connects your patella to your shin. This is a more rare injury, particularly among runners.
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Inner Knee Pain: Running & Plica Syndrome
Plica syndrome is much harder to diagnose than the aforementioned conditions. The quick definition of plica syndrome is that this refers to irritation of the lining of the knee joint that often results in running knee problems. Plica refers to thin remnants from the fetal stages of ones early developments that are located in the sleeves of the synovial folds more specifically, these appear as an extension of the synovial capsule.
When the synovial capsule is irritated from activities such as running, plica thicken, making it more likely to get caught on the femur or pinched between the femur and the patella. This typically causes medial knee pain with running, along with a catching, locking or a crackling sensation/sound of the knee.
Overuse, as well as tight hamstrings and/or weak quadriceps muscles, can increase ones likelihood of developing plica syndrome.
Following The Proper Form And Technique When Running
Besides using the right equipment, you should also be exercising with the right form and technique. When running, its best to try to keep a tight core and to avoid leaning too far forward or backwards. Trying to keep your knees bent will also help ease the shock to the area.
A good cool down after your run will also help your body adjust post-workout. Try walking or jogging after your run to recover. Without a proper warm-up and cool down, youre more likely to cause pain to certain areas.
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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
How Can You Make Your Knees Stronger For Running
Bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges are great for strengthening the major muscle groups around your knees, to make your knees stronger for running. Single leg exercises that work your glutes and challenge your balance will also help to protect your knees.
I cant believe Ive made it this far into the article without talking specifically about exercises to strengthen your knees for running.
As I described in the warm up section above, its vital to work on stability of the joints above and below the your knees, to allow you to maintain proper knee alignment and control as you run.
That said, you also need to strengthen the muscle groups that cross the knee it self and influence the patellofemoral joint. So we definitely also need to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, adductors and calf muscles!
Heres a great selection of exercises you can use to strengthen your knees to prevent knee pain when running:
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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.
The Knee Pain Treatment Plan In A Nutshell
To sum up what you need to do in case of knee pain, here are the steps you need to take:
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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.
Beware Of Bracing Overuse
Bracing for pain restricts your bodys natural flow and function. Braces provide support in some cases, and are fine to use after knee surgery. But relying on knee braces can cause further weakness in those muscles and can cause other knee problems.
Avid runners or athletes should use braces only to help get back to their normal activity after surgery, and then, if possible, wean off them so the body can maintain normal muscle strength and motor control on its own.
For an in-office or telehealth video appointment with a Virtua sports medicine specialist, call 888-847-8823.
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Knee Pain After Running
Whether youre a long-time runner or just starting out, having sore muscles after a run is normal. But if you are experiencing knee pain after running, something more serious could be wrong. Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Zach Logan explains common reasons your knee may hurt after running on .
Runners knee, or patellofemoral syndrome is one of the most common types of knee pain among runners. The pain is located nearly always in the center of the front of the knee, says Dr. Logan. This pain can be a result of the knee cap not tracking properly over the thigh bone or from not getting enough rest between runs. If the muscles around the kneecap are weak or tight, this can also cause runners knee.
Tight hamstrings and calf muscles both cross the knee joint in the back. Runners are pretty notorious for having tight hamstrings, so focusing on flexibility can help with knee pain, Dr. Logan says.
Pain below the kneecap is likely due to repetitive stress on your knee from running. Over time, that stress could result in patellar . Physiologically, this is the inflammatory cells in your body becoming overactive in a certain area. Dr. Logan explains.
For the IT band to be stretched, your knee has to cross the midline of your body, he explains. This rarely occurs during straight-line running, so all it gets to do is contract over and over.
What Causes Knee Pain While Running
To maintain pain-free knees, the muscles from your core down to your ankles need to work in sync to support your joints. But if these muscles are too weak to keep your hips and ankles in their proper place, the pain will centralize at your knees. So, unfortunately, whether or not youre hit with runners knee is pretty much out of your hands, since it depends on how youre built.
Naturally weak or under-active hips, for example, will cause your knees to collapse toward each other during any activity where weight is carried through the leg. And if your core isnt strong enough to keep your hips steady, your knees will be forced to do the hard work of stabilizing your body. Cue pain.
And the sour cherry on top, says Carter, is that the lower limb misalignments that cause runners knee painwide-set pelvises, out-turned thighsare more common in female bodies.
Now, before you go cursing your knees , you should note runners knee is common and treatable.
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Assess Your Training Regime
Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our physiotherapists are expertly trained in treating many running related knee injuries. We offer a number of treatments such as dry needling, orthotics, biomechanical assessment as part of our sports clinic. If you have any questions regarding knee pain while running or wish to book an appointment, contact us here.
Runners Knee Myth: Its Because Of My Q
Many therapists will blame the usual suspects for a case of PFPS:
- Leg length discrepancy
- Severe pronation
But these issues are unlikely why you have runners knee. Lets keep this simple: there is no research that supports these claims.
PFPS is a more mysterious injury than some others, so I cant criticize clinicians who may blame the usual suspects. But the truth is this: no studies have confirmed these issues as contributing to runners knee.
These biomechanical issues could certainly contribute to runners knee, but nobody knows for certain and its irresponsible to make those claims as definitive.
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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.
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 increase your cadence.
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.
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