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3 Reasons Why Your Knee Hurts When Your Running

There's been an amazing energy the last month or so at Alliance Regen and Rehab, with so many of our patients excited about the fast approaching running season

Lots of our patients are beginning to gear up for the season with new gear, their new training programs mapped out, and getting their races scheduled. Whether you've been running for years or you're new to running, you can't help but feel the energy of the running season - especially if you have that one friend who goes all out!! You know who you are, and we LOVE you for it! 

The great thing about running is that pretty much anyone can go out for a run and enjoy it, whether it is for a casual run/walk in the neighborhood, running 5k's and 10k's with your friends, or venturing into a marathons and even triathlons. Running provides a feeling of community, challenge, and confidence for anyone who does it, while also providing great health benefits! This is more true now than ever as running helps to strengthen your cardiopulmonary system, which can help protect you from COVID and other illnesses.

If you've been running long enough and have been involved in exercise long enough, you'll know that there are tons of amazing benefits, but you're also likely aware that pain, soreness, and injury can pop up in all active people!

And of all the possible injured areas, the most common complaint of runners that come through our clinic is knee pain! Even though knee pain is common in runners, not every knee pain is the same and every knee injury is NOT "Runner's Knee." That is why we are going to outline the 3 most common reasons why your knee hurts during or after your runs!

Remember -  your injury, the cause of the injury, and how your body reacts may be very different from a friend who's had knee pain. 

3 Most Common Reasons Why Your Runs Are Being Interrupted By Knee Pain...

1. What's happening while you're running...

You might not pay much attention to your running form, but an explanation for why your knees hurt can be found in your running form. A video running analysis can reveal some interesting clues. Some of these are running with an 'backseat running posture.' This can basically be described as the runner's hips and trunk trailing the lower half. This creates the visual that the runner is chronically sitting back during the run, which creates excessive force and torque through the quads and knees! This a big time contributor to quadriceps tendonitis and patellar tendonitis.

Heel striking with a straight/extended knee can also cause knee pain to occur over timee due to the high forces being placed throughout the knee joint repetitively. We find that this running form is highly correlated to meniscus injuries!

Bonus: too much, too soon is also something that can contribute to the onset of knee pain. Increasing mileage by a large amount over a short period of time can be risky, especially if it's mileage you haven't done before or if this increase is after a long layoff.

2. What's happening when your not running...

If your running a lot or even just a little, the truth is that you need to mix in more movements and components to your training routine.  A multifaceted training routine is always best for runners to stay healthy and run for years to come. For those that are running multiple days a week without any form of strength training, recovery, pilates, etc. - the time to start is now! You have to be strong to run and you must keep your body recovered.

We recommend 3 days of strength in the offseason and 1-2 days of strength during the season. We also recommend having a structured program of correctives based on your weaknesses (weak foot strength, hip stability, etc) that you can work into your training routine. Adding in weekly foam rolling, active stretching, yoga, and pilates will help significantly. Getting manual treatment done is also highly recommended - 1-4 times a month depending on preference and training demands (massage, trigger point release, adjustments, OMT, dry needling).

3. What's happening above and below the knee...

Another reason why runners can be dealing with knee issues is because of dysfunctions, weaknesses, or restrictions that are present at the hip or the foot/ankle. These two areas that include your foot strength, ankle mobility, ankle stability, hip strength/stability, and even core strength play a huge role in how you function as a runner. These are just a few points that we look at when evaluating what is the cause of a runner's knee pain. When the hip, ankle, and core are not working together appropriately, a runner can develop pronation, knee valgus (knee dives inward), and hip drop dysfunctions that can put excessive stress on the knee.

A detailed and run-specific movement exam with a physical therapist can help uncover these limitations and prescribe the most appropriate exercises and strategies to help keep you healthy and resilient. 

We hope that you've been able walk or run away from this blog more enlightened and aware of what can be causing your knee pain - or perhaps even prevent that knee pain from even happening.

In the meantime, you can check out this video of our Quick and Effective Pre-Run Warm-Up Routine!

We are here for you...

We are busier than ever as we just eclipsed 1 year in our new practice in Downtown St. Petersburg. We have an influx of new and returning runners coming in for running evaluations, injury screens, recovery work, and treatment to put their current injuries behind them.

If you're in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you!

Appointments times are beginning to get slim as we are experiencing a high demand for physical therapy, non-surgical treatments, and visits with our sports medicine physician, so please contact us immediately to avoid a long wait.

If you would like to get one of our limited slots, please click here to complete our inquiry form or CALL us at 727-258-7224.

Thank again for reading our blog! Share it with one you run with. :) 

Happy Running Season!

 

 

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