Knee pain running
is a common complaint, but it is not inevitable as many would think. With the proper management, knee pain can be corrected effectively so you can carry or with your normal running regime.
Runners’ knee is pain that occurs around the kneecap which appears after a regular routine of running usually when runners start increasing their distance to 40miles per week. Often you feel it intensifying when running downhill or walking down stairs and can be accompanied with crunching or clicking sounds. This can be quite alarming to say the least. It doesn’t go away even after taking a break from running for a few days and seems to come right back, on your next run.
But what could be the problem? Apparently the cause of the problem is not even in the knee. It’s got to do with the efficiency of your running tools; your feet and thighs. The problem starts when your kneecap moves out of its normal track and starts rubbing against the sides. It starts twisting and pulling to the side because while you are running, thigh muscles don’t develop simultaneously and they cause a muscular imbalance. This imbalance is caused by the hamstrings (the bottom thigh muscles) overpowering the weak quadriceps (top thigh muscles) which are the ones supporting the knee cap, thus causing the kneecap to shift while running. After a certain period of this constant rubbing you can imagine that it would start to hurt because the cartilage which cushions the knee becomes worn.
Another cause would be simply your foot work or more correctly, your pronation. When your feet strike the ground, they seem to be making a faulty movement and inevitably you feel this constant pounding in your knee. It could be that you are turning your foot too much to the left or right side when it hits the ground. If your running route has uneven surfaces like a banked road, it can cause unnecessary pressure on your knee by putting to much emphasis on one leg. Simply overusing your knee by increasing your mileage can also aggravate the pain.
The logical thing would be to take a break from your running programme for a while. If you still feel like running make sure you run on even surfaces and cut back on running uphill. If the pain comes back, stop immediately. To minimize the pain you can put an ice pack straight after your run or use a wet towel from the fridge for a period of 10-15 minutes to bring down the swelling. Find a good anti inflammatory and take it with food after your run – never before! You can also try using heat and cold therapy to increase the healing of the soft tissue damage.
If you suspect that the problem is your feet, make sure that you have properly supportive running shoes for your foot type. There are plenty of foot supports available at chemists which might also help rectify the problem. Try using knee pain supports which will help compress and stabilize the knee to increase the healing process. You may need to strengthen your quadriceps by doing a few target exercises, like retro-running. If all else fails, then its best to make an appointment with a podiatrist or physiotherapist to see if there is any other underlying problem.
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