Bring Running Knee Pain Down on Its Knees
by Following These Tips
Running knee pain is not at all uncommon, but here are some tips to help you treat it, and hopefull even avoid it alltogether.
How Your Running Shoes Can Cause Knee Pain
Before you worry about developing an injury from running knee pain, it could just be your shoes. Here are three questions to ask about your running shoes.
1) Are my running shoes right for me?
Here are some tips on how to choose running shoes.
2) Did the knee pain start right after I bought a new pair of running shoes?
Even if your running shoes seemed perfect when you bought them, if the pain started right after you bought a new pair of running shoes, you might need to exchange them. I learned this last year, after being fitted for my first pair of New Balance shoes and suffering from running knee pain shortly after.
As soon as I went back to running in my old Asics the pain went away.
3) Are my running shoes worn out?
You should change your running shoes every six months or every 300-500 miles, whatever comes first. If the soles of your shoes are looking worn out, this can cause running knee pain because the stability of the shoe is off.
More Tips to Help Avoid Running Knee Pain
Once you've ruled out the possibility of running knee pain being caused by your running shoes, here are some more tips that might help.
A lot of times knee problems are caused because the upper leg is weak so the knee is having to work too hard. Some ways to strength the upper legs are squats and lunges. For more tips on strength training for runners, check out this article.
Just remember this important tip when you are doing squats and lunges. You never want your knee to come out over your toes. To avoid this, think, sitting down as low as you can on your butt instead of leaning forward on your knees.
You can find some great squating tips and demonstrations in this 20 minute Jillian Michaels workout DVD.
Take a Day Off
Are you running every day? Not giving yourself time to recover can also cause injury. As with any muscle, your running muscles breakdown when you are running and build up when you are resting them. So you need rest to build the muscle back up.
3-4 days a wk of running is a good goal with one or two days of cross-training.
And if you feel a knee injury coming on, take a few extra days off and just focus on cross training and strength training.
As hard as it can be to take time off from running, it's better to take a short time off when you feel an injury coming on then to run through the injury and make it worse. This will only lead to worse injuries and longer time off.
If you feel like the knee pain is not going away after a week or two off, see your doctor to get it checked out before you continue running.
Cross training will help you get in a good cardio workout while giving your running muscles a break. A good cross training choice will also give your joints and feet a break from doing most of the work. Here are some ideas for cross training workouts.
Stretching is often the most overlooked part of running but very important in avoiding any kind of injury.
My favorite stretch for knee injuries is the IT band stretch.
The quad stretch illustrated here is another very common runners stretch, but when you are doing it, make sure that you don't bring your knee back too far behind you. Instead, to make the stretch better, bring your pelvis forward.
For more tips on avoiding and treating knee pain and other injuries, check out Running Injury-Free.