Running offers a number of mental and physical health benefits, and can be enjoyed almost anytime, anywhere. It is quite easy to start your running journey. However, just like any other physical activity, there is a risk of injury, especially for your knees.
If you experience recurring knee pain along the way, do not try to run through it but prefer to have it check by your health specialist. A thorough assessment of your condition will help in designing a personalized treatment plan to get you back quickly to normal.
Wearing a brace can definitely be a big help in your recovery, but you really want to tackle the underlying issues that enable the pain in the first place.
So here the list of the 3 most common knee running injuries that you should be aware of and some leads on how to improve them:
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
Often called Runner's Knee, PFPS is mostly described as a dull pain at the front of the knee, particularly around the kneecap (also called patella). People can also experience swelling, popping or grinding knees.
There are many factors that put some runners at risk for patellofemoral pain syndrome but overuse is one of the main contributing factors. Beginner runners who are rushing to clock in mileage, experienced runners who suddenly modify their routine, or runners who run on uneven or hilly terrain, are more likely to experience an overuse injury. Improper running technique can also contribute to the development of this type of pain.
- Do some core, ankle, quadricep, hamstring and glute strengthening exercises to improve the muscle balance around the knee joint
- Start cross-training with lower impact activities such as stationary biking, pool running or using the elliptical trainer
- Get your running shoes checked by a running shoe fitting expert
Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a thick band of connecting tissue located on the outside of the thigh, from the pelvis to the tibia. When the iliotibial band is inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain, especially during running, when the heel touches the ground. The pain can usually be felt on the external side of the knee and can sometimes go up the thigh towards the hip. It can be described as a sharp or burning pain, and can also be accompanied by swelling and/or by a snapping sensation.
ITBS is classified as an overuse injury and distance runners are particularly susceptible to it.
- Reduce your running regime and engage in cross-training activities
- Stretch the IT band to help loosening up the hip muscles
- Strengthen the hip muscles to stabilize hips and knees
- Improve your running form with a running specialist -especially if your stride is too long or not in alignment
- Make sure your running shoes are well adapted to your physiology and not overused.
The patellar tendon is a ligament that connects the kneecap to the shin bone. As a result of overuse, the patellar tendon can become inflamed and painful, which is essentially how patellar tendinitis develops. Patellar tendinitis, also known as Jumper’s knee, is characterized by pain at the lower front of the kneecap and around the top of the shin. In addition to pain, there could be swelling, redness and warmth around the affected area.
Sudden increase in training frequency or intensity can lead to this particular injury as a result of repetitive movements. Weak or tight leg muscles can also contribute to the development of patellar tendinitis.
- Reduce your training routine to rest your knee
- Do some quadriceps stretching exercises and strengthening series for your thigh muscles
- Check the fit of your running shoes as well as your running technique
- Wear a patellar tendon strap might also help to distribute the stress on the tendon and help reduce the pain.