Knee pain is a hot topic for both men and women, especially for those who are relatively active. In fact, a third of America’s population experiences knee pain every now and then.
While the pain is bearable, it’s not a good idea to neglect such an injury especially since one of the main causes of knee pain is an improper approach to running. This leads us to the question, what is the proper technique for running?
Unfortunately, even experts tend to make the mistake of thinking they’re doing everything right, so learning how to prevent knee pain when running isn’t going to be easy. Perhaps the best way to avoid such injury is to learn more about it. So to begin with, you must know what knee pain is.
What is Knee Pain?
Knee pain can be defined differently by medical professionals and athletes, so it might be confusing if you don’t belong in these two groups. So for this guide, we’ll define knee pain in a simplified manner.
Knee pain is, as previously said, pain around the knee. Since the knee consists of (1) femur, (2) tibia, (3) patella, and (4) fibula, experiencing knee pain means some of these parts are affected.
Knee pain is also one of the most common reasons why people of all ages consult their doctor. It is also considered the most common type of chronic pain.
When experiencing knee pain, you may undergo different changes in your physiology.
As I’ve said before, knee pain may affect one, two, three, or all parts of the knee. According to the location and severity of the injury, the symptoms will vary. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common symptoms of knee pain:
- Swelling and redness around the knee
- Crunch sounds
- Difficulty straightening the knee
Note that the symptoms will also vary depending on the cause of knee pain.
You can suffer knee pain in many ways. Some may have a medical condition that weakens the bones, hence resulting in pain to different parts of your body including the knees.
However, reports tell us that the leading cause of knee pain is running. Therefore, it’s crucial to find out how to prevent knee pain when running using different techniques, which leads us to the next section.
Guide to Prevent Knee Pain When Running
Running is a great exercise to improve one’s health. You can take part in this activity, regardless of whether you’re an athlete or a couch potato. However, what most people don’t know is that there is a proper way of running that may help you avoid long-term side effects such as knee pain.
Do Other Exercises
Running is indeed one of the best exercises to strengthen your lower body while improving your cardiovascular endurance. But you should also remember that your knees are not the only ones bearing the burden of running. Your hips also contribute to your running speed and stability. Hence, you must strengthen your pelvic region.
Ultimately, what you’re achieving by doing this is lessening the burden put on your knees by distributing the force equally. That’s precisely why racers often do strength exercises that involve other parts of their body.
This is a common technique when running to avoid the pressure on your knee joints. Perhaps you’ve also heard of this, but what does this have to do with knee pain? Actually, it has a lot to do with that matter.
You see, when the foot hits the ground, the force is automatically distributed to your body parts according to the contribution they made. Leaning forward means using your hips more.
This means that your hips will receive more impact while your knees are spared from the extra force, resulting in a lower likelihood of experiencing knee pain.
Gradually Increase Your Pace
Running leisurely is a good way to relax, but some people may require higher intensity due to their health needs. The bad news is that this will result in a higher chance of experiencing knee pain, so what do you have to do?
Instead of immediately going from running gently to running intensely, you should gradually increase your pace. You can use your preferred unit of measure to monitor your speed and increase that speed slowly.
Use Warmup Exercises
It’s a good idea to do warmups first before running. You may do stretching, squats, or whatever you want to use.
The purpose of a warmup is to loosen your joints and stretch your muscles before actively using them. These exercises will also prepare your body by increasing your blood flow.
Ultimately, you’re making sure you don’t experience a sudden increase in blood flow and activity by starting with light exercises. It follows the same concept of gradually increasing your pace.
Slow Down When Running Downhill
Usually, when you run downhill, your legs will have longer strides and reach out further than you normally do. Doing so will increase the force that your knees receive. Thus, I recommend slowing down when running downhill and perhaps make each step shorter.
Use Suitable Running Shoes
The last one doesn’t involve a technique, but rather the use of proper equipment.
Running shoes are originally meant to absorb the shock of your foot and absorb them. That means your knees will receive a smaller amount of impact. In other words, they protect your lower body.
Unfortunately, using a pair of running shoes that doesn’t align with your measurements can do more harm than good. As such, it’s important to use suitable running shoes as soon as possible.
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Running is, without a doubt, a perfect method to improve your physiology. Not only are you strengthening your lower-body muscles, but you’re also improving your endurance. I can only name a few workouts that do the same.
The bad news is this exercise has some flaws, and that flaw is the fact that there’s a chance that you’ll experience knee pain. On the bright side, you will only suffer from this injury if you’re doing things improperly.
With this guide, you should already have a general idea of what knee pain is and how to prevent knee pain when running. Hopefully, you can use this to improve your running experience in general.