With the City2Surf not far away we're guessing there a quite a few people worried about their knee pain and you’re not alone! Knee pain when running is a complaint we hear everyday in the clinic, with studies suggesting between 30-50% of runners will suffer from some form of knee pain in any training year. That's huge!! Have a read of the following causes to see how you can avoid being part of this statistic.
Patello-Femoral Pain is essentially a pain that feels like it is underneath your knee cap. You will usually have a gradual onset of pain which is made worse on activities such as squatting, going up or down stairs, and walking or running downhill. Muscle imbalances in your quadriceps as well as poor glute strength and stability can be a main cause. If the muscles on the outside of your leg are stronger than those on the inside it can pull the knee-cap slightly off its track causing a burning pain under the knee cap. Weak hamstrings can also contribute to this muscle imbalance.
The ITB is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from your hip, down the outside of your leg to just below your knee. The pain is caused by the friction created as the ITB moves posteriorly during knee flexion. It occurs near or just after foot strike when running. Downhill running reduces the angle of knee flexion and can aggravate the ITB. The pain will generally flare up at a certain distance on the outside of the knee. It will then feel better after a run but will return again once running is commenced.
Causes of Knee Pain
- Sudden increase in training
- Change in running style
- Running surface – always running on concrete.
- Lack of variety in your training – Training needs to target different muscle groups to avoid developing muscular imbalances.
- Poor footwear
- Poor biomechanics - 'flat feet' in particular.
Ways to Prevent Knee Pain When Running
- Always Warm up and Cool down
- Have the right shoes for your foot
- Never increase your distance by more than 10%/week
- Add variety to your training
- Regular stretching & release work
- Strengthening- especially glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves
- Have your biomechanics checked.