7 Tips For Preventing Runner’s Knee
A friend recently asked if I had any advice regarding “Runner’s Knee” and how to best remedy the injury. 4 out of 10 running injuries affect the knee joint, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or simply “runner’s knee,” is the most common overuse injury among runners. It occurs when a mistracking kneecap (patella) irritates the femoral groove in which it rests on the thighbone (femur). Thanks for the info Runner’s World. I’m no medical professional, but here are a few quick thoughts for preventing or healing Runner’s Knee:
1. Check your shoes. Lots of running injuries start with dead shoes. Most shoes are good for 250-500 miles, so do the math and see where you stand. “Dead” shoes can result in a much higher impact on joints like knees and hips. Buy new shoes from a specialty running store that can help you find the right fit. The best can even check your existing shoes to tell you how much life they have left.
2. Check your surface. Running on concrete paths and streets can take a toll on your knees over time. When possible, I personally choose to run in parks where I can stay on dirt paths. The payoff over time can be huge. When I’ve had knee problems in the past, I’ve gone to golf courses early in the morning and run the golf course. The grass and surfaces are great for joints and the scenery can be a great break from the norm.
3. Check your training schedule. Especially when you are putting in a lot of miles as a runner, you should consider mixing up the types of runs and workouts you do. Rest days are important. Alternate distance runs with shorter pace runs and speed workouts. Mix in cross training when possible. I do a boot camp called Camp Gladiator. I also like to swim and ride a mountain bike. The low impact workouts give those knees a break and build different muscles than running.
4. Build your leg strength. The stronger your quads and other supporting muscles around your knees, the more support for those aching joints. Do cross training and occasional strength exercises. The payoff in the end will result in less knee issues and less chicken legs too! Haha.
5. Properly stretch after runs. Most runners don’t take enough time after runs to stretch muscles that are tensed up from runs. Over time, your hamstrings and other muscles and tendons can loose their range of motion and flexibility. You will naturally compensate for this range of motion with your stride and you will see injuries down the road. Focus on your hamstrings (and even hip flexors) and you should see a difference in your knees within a few weeks
6. Ice, ice, ice. Icing knees after a run can take the swelling down considerably. Watch using anti-inflamatories like Advil regularly. Over time, your body will need more and more to get the same affect. This is a slippery slope that you want to avoid. You only get one body here on earth, so take care of it!
7. See a professional. Most insurance plans will cover a trip to a physical therapist. A great PT can help you identify other causes and check out your knees to make sure you aren’t creating permanent damage. They will even show you helpful stretches that will get you back on track.
You may be able to heal your knees in as soon as a couple of weeks. Nonetheless, some runners deal with the problem on a permanent basis. Hopefully you can get past it!
Ok, hope this helps! What other tips do you have for runners? Are you a runner? Let us know about it!