Running is such a great way to live a healthy life. Not only does it help you physically, but it also comes with many mental health benefits as well. However, while there are so many positives about running and incorporating it into your everyday life, there are some drawbacks. As it can put extra strain on your knees. you may experience one or more of these common knee injuries from running.
In fact, 40% of running injuries are concerned with the knee so it is important to learn more about these common knee injuries from running for prevention or ease your way back into running if you have experienced them.
What Are Some Common Knee Injuries from Running?
1. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
One of the main injuries is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). It is so common amongst runners that it is usually referred to as Runner’s Knee.
Runner’s Knee affects the point between the kneecap and the thighbone. It is the cartilage on the bottom, lower side of the patella (kneecap).
– Mild swelling, pain or soreness when you complete any activity that puts pressure on the knee such as running, squatting
– The knee may pop and crack a lot more when you bend and straighten the knee
When you have Runner’s Knee, it is recommended that you take a few days off to take the pressure off your knees. If wake up and have pain on the inside and outside of the knee that doesn’t lessen throughout the day, don’t run. Give yourself more time to recover.
If there is a slight ache that comes and goes through the day, most likely after sitting down for a long time, you can proceed to train with caution. However, only train every two or three days a week.
In addition, reduce the distance that you run to prevent straining it further. Try to run uphill as it can mitigate the pain. Do not run downhill. Running downhill will mean that you will land very heavily on your knees which can aggravate the pain and make it worse.
And above all else, stop running when it is painful. Don’t try to run through it.
How to Prevent It
There are ways to prevent Runner’s Knee and lessen the chances of developing it.
Change the length of your stride when you run. By taking shorter strides and making sure that your knees are slightly bent, you can reduce the pressure on your joints by 30%.
Also, it is a good idea to incorporate some strength training into your training to build up the muscles around the knee such as the quads and glutes. Some accessory exercises you can do are lateral side steps and squats. This means that your knee will be much better supported.
Your hip strength also plays a role. Use the hip abductor machine in the gym to help strengthen your outer hip.
2. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Another one of these common knee injuries from running is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). ITBS is fast catching up to Runner’s Knee as the most prevalent knee injury for runners.
This injury affects the outer hip to knee. Your knee extends and flexes when you run, which causes the IT band (outer hip to knee area) to run against the femur, leading to friction and pain in the outer knee joint.
– Swelling and inflammation
– Lateral knee pain that comes when you are using your knee (running) and goes away when you stop.
ITBS is a nagging injury. This means that it can keep coming back, so it is best to address the problem when you first experience it. If not, then it may start to affect daily activities such as walking.
It is important to rest your knee when this occurs. If you are experiencing pain when you are walking, then do not train. Rest and make sure that you ice the inflamed area.
However, if there is a slight twinge when you run but it goes away when you walk, then train cautiously. If you do still run, then decrease the mileage. It is best to try only doing 50-75% of your pre-injury running distance.
How to Prevent It
Likewise, with Runner’s Knee, shorten your strides and try to land on the front of your heel or midfoot. Also, try to avoid hilly routes.
Foam roll over the affected areas before and after a run to help loosen up the muscles and increase the mobility of the soft-tissue. In the meantime, try other sports such as swimming and other low-impact exercises to take the pressure off the knee,
3. Patellar Tendinopathy
Common knee injuries from running also include Patellar Tendinopathy. It is typically called Jumper’s Knee because it affects people who do a lot of sports that require excessive jumping or landing on the knee – such as with running.
The patellar tendon is what connected that kneecap to the lower leg bone. It causes this knee injury when there is a repetitive strain on this area. This injury is something that gradually progresses over time.
– Stiff or swollen knee – The affected tendon may look thicker and swollen. To be sure, compare it to the unaffected side.
– Pain while walking or running
– Pinching or burning sensation on the underside of the kneecap
If you have this knee injury and you have pain when walking, then stop running and make sure you take time off to rest. Not doing so will cause the pain to exacerbate.
However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid all activity. In fact, resting completely can make it worse as it will become stiffer. Do gently motion exercises to prevent stiffness and apply an ice pack to the affected area.
How to Prevent It
As with all common knee injuries from running, strengthen the areas around it for better support. Exercises such as single leg glute bridges will help you build your lower body. Squats and lunges are also beneficial. To amp up the strength training, use resistance bands.
When it comes to the most common knee injuries from running, it is best to proceed with caution. Make sure that you take the time to rest otherwise you may aggravate the injury, and extend your recovery time. To help prevent developing these injuries, it is important that your lower body is strong enough to support you otherwise your body will have to compensate, which can cause these common knee injuries from running.
Looking for a running plan that can help improve your running? Zen Labs Fitness offers a range of running apps that help complete newbies to experienced runners. Armed with an audio coach, proven walk-run program and a supportive, tight-knit community, you have all the ingredients to help get you off that couch and into your running shoes for a great workout.