8 Effective Tips for Preventing Runner's Knee

If you are new to running or have increased your mileage a little too quickly, you may be at risk of developing a runner's knee. The pain caused by this condition can make it hard to maintain a consistent running routine. Further, ignoring the pain can worsen the inflammation. 

Understanding Runner's Knee & How to Prevent It When Running

Due to weak core strength, problems with alignment, and balance issues, the kneecap or patella can rub against the femur's lower attachment, leading to severe knee pain when running and inflammation. This condition is also referred to as patellofemoral pain or patellofemoral syndrome. In addition to the pain, you may also experience stiffness around the knee and clicking sounds as you move. 

Runners' knees are commonly seen among teenagers and younger adults. In older individuals, symptoms may arise as a result of arthritis. 

With such a condition, physiotherapists do not require a scan to confirm the diagnosis. Symptoms and physical examination provide all the evidence needed. Lifestyle changes, physiotherapy, and being in tune with your body help reduce symptoms and strengthen the body. 

8 Tips to Prevent Runner's Knee

If you enjoy your morning jogs, listen to your body's needs and work toward strengthening the musculoskeletal system.  

Warm-Up Sufficiently Before Exercise

A quick and dynamic warm-up prepares your muscles and joints for running. Engaging in simple exercises increases the flow of synovial fluid in the patellofemoral joint (point of contact between the knee cap and lower femur). Since these bones move against each other, the fluid acts as a lubricant to avoid wear and tear. Further, activating the muscles around your hips and glutes provides control, alignment, and stability.

So before you go for an early morning jog, practicing a few sets of air squats to activate your body will help to reduce knee pain after running.

Get the Right Gear

Having the right pair of shoes can provide the right amount of comfort, cushioning, and more. It is also essential to replace running shoes after a couple of months. Based on your gait, inserts can be added to the boots to prevent knee pain after running. Further, there are multiple options of shoes specifically catering to flat feet. 

Mix Up, Your Workouts

Incorporating cross-training cardio and strengthening exercises into your routine helps improve your joints and muscles. Tai chi and yoga also work in stretching tight hamstrings and hip flexors. A few examples of cardio include back, abdominal, and hip exercises. Practicing these exercises regularly can help reduce knee pain after running. 

Increase Your Running Cadence

Running cadence, also known as stride frequency, refers to the number of strides made per minute. Shorter and quicker strides for a given pace help protect your knee and avoid damage. The ideal frequency is 180 strides per minute, irrespective of the pace or form. However, this can vary for each individual. 

Don't Over Stride While You Run

Over stride refers to a broader distance between the body's center of mass and the point of foot strike. Knee pain due to running causes more impact on the muscles and joints, leading to a runner's knee. Knee pain when running reduces running efficiency and overexerts the shin, knee, hip, and lower back. Using cues like" Running on ice, High knees and low ankles" can help you maintain a good stride. 

Consider Your Surroundings

The environment around you can cause significant wear and tear to the body during a run. Softer surfaces have a lower level of impact as compared to concrete. Knee pain when running During your jogs, avoid uneven or elevated terrain. If you are not mindful, such grounds can lead to falls and severe injuries. 

Cool Down Properly After Running

Cooling down involves three main phases- immediate, intermediate, and late. The primary phase consists in decreasing the pace towards the end of your run, followed by light walking for 3-5 minutes. During the intermediate step practicing agility exercises (jumps, high knees, skips, and lunges) can help reduce body temperature and swelling. Finally, the late phase focuses on static stretches, the use of a foam roller, and staying hydrated. 

Don't Delay Treatment

The runner's knee predisposes you to various conditions, including arthritis, osteoarthritis, ACL tears, fractures, and more. Seeking help for symptoms is vital as it reduces inflammation and protects the body from future damage. Various techniques, including acupuncture, mobilization exercises, massages, and chiropractic care, can aid in a smooth recovery. 

Runner's Knee Pain-Free With Physiotattva

Our team of experts aims to develop coping strategies that strengthen the body and improve your quality of life. We have numerous physiotherapy treatment options, including acupuncture, strengthening exercises, tissue mobilization exercises, heat and cold therapy, massages, and chiropractic care. These approaches focus on building a chiropractic care and physiotherapy treatment plan that meets your needs. Physiotherapy and chiropractor consultations, and home services make recovery stress-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to cure a runner's knee?

The RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) method is temporary and quick relief from the runner's knee. In addition to this, pain medications are also helpful. Regardless of this, seeking diagnosis and treatment from a professional is essential.

Can a runner's knee take months to heal?

Usually, this condition requires 4-6 weeks for complete recovery. However, if professional help is not sought after, a runner's knee can take months to heal. As the inflammation increases, it may result in tears, fractures, and more.