RUNNING KNEE PAIN
Running knee pain is a very common running injury because the knee is a very complex joint that is easily stressed if overworked or overused.
The knee is a weight-bearing joint and has many motions that include bending, twisting, and rotating. It is all this constant, varied motion that is the most common cause of overuse injuries of the knee.
If you are a runner, you are not likely to suffer any of the more acute knee injuries like torn ligaments or cartilage. These types of injuries are commonly caused by the sports that involve jumping, sudden stops or possibly contacts sports like football and hockey.
The most common running knee pain is normally caused by overuse. It may take weeks, months, or even years for an overuse injury to fully develop into a problem that prevents a runner from carrying on with run training or racing.
The pain will come and go at first, but will steadily get worse if it remains under stress. Often signs of swelling will become visible and this is actually the body trying to begin the healing process.
If the knee is not given adequate time to heal, the result is normally a chronic injury that will eventually require some sort of medical attention as it is most likely past the stage where it will heal on it’s own.
The wisest course of action is to take steps to prevent knee injuries before a problem develops.
First of all if you are new to running it’s important to ease yourself into running so your body has time to adjust to the demands you are putting on it. Walk before you run and then slowly begin to add running to the walking.
On the left-hand image, you can see where the cartilage has been worn away and this explains why runners will often feel and even hear “grating” in their knee.
If a runner is fortunate and the affliction has not progressed too far, it may be remedied by therapy. Otherwise, surgery may be the only alternative to relieve the pain.
Often this problem can be easily avoided if runners take plenty of rest days. Especially when they begin to sense a soreness developing in their knee that does not just “go away” when they choose to ignore it.
This is especially true in the beginning of a running career, but even seasoned runners should not be running day after day without taking time off to let their bodies recover.
If the simple act if walking is causing knee pain then one should not begin running into the problem is dealt with.
Other ways of preventing running knee pain is to strengthen the muscles that surround and support the knee.
Most fitness facilities and weight rooms will have expert staff available who can tell you the best leg exercises to do in order to provide strength and flexibility to the muscles that surround the knee. Quad extensions and hamstring curls would be a good staring point.
If you happen to be over-weight, it simply means that you need to give your knees more time to adjust to the new stresses of running.
Begin a walking program and along with a sound, healthy diet the excess weight will soon begin to disappear and you will be able to add easy running to your program. By doing what you can to lessen your weight, you will be reducing the amount of stress on your knee.
Often the early onset of running knee pain can be resolved with complete rest, but if allowed to progress, medical procedures like knee arthroscopic surgery might be necessary.