As a runner, any injury you experience can be detrimental…especially when it involves your knee.
Runner’s knee is a common injury for cross country and track athletes with symptoms including pain behind or near your kneecap.
Runners may notice this pain when bending their knee, walking down the stairs or after a run.
Although finding one specific cause to runner’s knee can be difficult, there are different things you can do to reduce your chances of injuring your knee.
Here are 3 tips every runner should follow to prevent runner’s knee.
Run on softer surfaces
Although running on the sidewalks in your neighborhood may seem more convenient, you might want to reconsider.
Hard surfaces such as concrete can increase the likelihood of runner’s knee compared to running on asphalt surfaces.
The reason sidewalks are not ideal is because older, sometimes uneven concrete surfaces can be rough on your knees due to the concrete not being able to cushion the impact of your strides.
Instead, try to run on an asphalt track when training.
If your only option is the sidewalk, make sure to invest in shoes with built-in support and cushions to counteract the hard concrete surface.
Cut back on your mileage
Wanting to improve your personal best is always a goal for runners…but be careful.
If you begin to feel pain in your knees during a run, don’t push through it, instead end your run and head home.
By overworking your knee you are weakening it which can cause long term damage such as arthritis.
Until your knee heals, reduce your running distance, take smaller strides, and avoid any activities that requires you to bend your knee more than you should.
Strengthen your muscles
Another method to prevent runner’s knee is to strengthen the muscles in your legs.
According to a study by Gregory R. Waryasz and Ann Y. McDermott for the National Institute of Health, tightness in the hamstring, quadriceps and hips are potential causes of runner’s knee.
To strengthen your hamstring, quadriceps and hip muscles, implement stretches such as side leg lifts, leg swings, and low lunges into your warm-up and after each run.