Runners knee is a broad term used to describe the pain you feel if you have one of several knee problems. Also, it doesn’t just stem from running. Many things can bring about this pain. Commonly, overuse is the leading contributor. Other contributors are a direct hit to the knee, your bones aren’t lined up, problems with your feet, weak or unbalanced thigh muscles, and improper mechanics in running to lifting. The symptoms are usually pain in the front of the knee cap, though it could be around or behind it. Pain when you bend your knee to walk, squat, kneel, run or even get up from a chair. Pain gets worse as your walk downstairs or downhill.
We’re going to focus on the problem stemming from running. Many people use jogging/running as way to get back into exercising. Although a great way to start back up, it should be balanced out with resistance training as well. Running focuses on specific muscles and we need the resistance training to accommodate and build the counter muscles. Also resistance training is a large factor in injury prevention. As you shift back into workouts remember resistance training is a key component.
Another huge factor is running form. Seems silly. We all know how to put on foot in front of the other but there is a correct way that leads to efficiency and injury prevention. If you’re unsure of proper form, that’s where coaches come in. Its as simple as asking them to watch you run and how best to improve. There’s also the next step which is to spend one on one time with a coach to help adjust mechanics. Proper form is there for a reason and will lead pain free running.
Now both of these factors can actually be tied together. Your form might be compromised because you don’t have the strength to maintain proper form. Again this brings us back to the point of incorporating strength training with running. We need strong everything to keep the right form. Strong core keeps us upright. Strong hips helps to keep the hips forward so we have proper leg lift and drive. Strong calves to take the beating of longer distances. You get the point. The list goes on. Need to have strength to keep proper form.
Include stretching into these measures to ensure we’ve taken the most preventative measures possible. This accompanied by the right shoes gives you the best chance to succeed. Stretching is an obvious one, where as shoes might sound silly. Having the right running shoes or arch supports will guarantee you the most comfort and shock absorption. Remember to replace running shoes at least once a year.
Remember these measures each year. Whether you’re getting back into the swing of things or the snows melting and running season is upon you. Do your body right by preparing the right way.