How to Run Without Knee Pain
Exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but knee pain can become a common annoyance for many joggers. Not only can it discourage you from exercising regularly, it can become unmanageable, especially as your age progresses. Thankfully, learning how to run without knee pain is easier than you may think. By properly stretching and practicing a few techniques while jogging, you can drastically lower the amount of pain you feel in your knees.
What Causes Knee Pain When Running?
There are a number of factors that can cause your knees to hurt while jogging. Commonly known as runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), this condition is experienced widely by individuals that overexert their knees during exercise. Your quadriceps, the muscles that surround your knees, can become too loose or tight which allows your kneecap to slightly shift. As your ligaments and tendons become strained, the cartilage under the kneecap can deteriorate which further misaligns and overloads your knees. When running, these conditions worsen. In addition, weak glutes, inflexible lower leg muscles, and your running posture can contribute to the misalignment of your kneecaps. The continual sharp pain felt during running can eventually lead to knee problems and other issues. To ensure your next jog is pain-free, consider utilizing the following techniques.
Before you hit the track, there are several preventative measures you can take to avoid runner’s knee. First, begin by properly stretching. Try a down dog with calf raises and then transition to reverse lunges with an overhead reach. After holding these positions for several seconds, do a few crossbody knee hugs. Standard squats and knee bends should also be added to your routine to avoid running pain. The purpose of these stretches is to decrease muscular restrictions and target your calves, quads, and hips. Once finished, quickly scan your body for parts that have tension. If you feel tender in a particular area, slowly apply pressure for 20-30 seconds. This will steadily increase your blood flow and prevent your muscles from stiffening up. Once finished, you will have prepared your body for the jog to come.
Learning how to run without knee pain takes practice. In order to form healthy running habits, we suggest taking it slow for a while and continuously scanning your body, making sure your form is proper. The trick is to slightly lean forward and time your foot strikes to land on your midfoot, which provides you will more balance and control. You want to keep your feet behind you with your toes pointed forward. This will turn your feet and legs into shock absorbers and prevent your kneecaps from getting misplaced.
When running, try to keep your legs limber. You don’t want your lower body to become too stiff, which might result in knee pain or injury. Instead, try to find a steady balance—a flowing rhythm to your running that doesn’t feel rigid. Additionally, try not to pick up your knees when in motion. This technique will further prevent excessive pressure from building up when you land each foot. If you feel your feet getting out of stride, try your best to find that perfect running rhythm again.
Talk to a Professional
If you still experience knee pain after implementing these techniques, we highly suggest seeking out the council of a pain management specialist. At US Pain & Spine Institute, a Houston pain management center, we will guide you through proven clinical processes to find a long-lasting solution. Powerful treatments such as physical therapy, analgesic medicine, and joint injections can help you get back on the track with little to no pain.
Your knee pain is unique to you, which means it requires a unique solution. The expert staff and board-certified physicians at US Pain & Spine Institute strive to find these solutions without relying on excessive habit-forming medications. Through conservative care, innovative injection therapy, and a personalized approach, we’re dedicated to finding a solution that works for you. Don’t let knee pain keep you from exercising and enjoying life to the fullest. Schedule a consultation with a pain expert today.