Knee pain while running? The solution!

Since I can remember, I’ve always had pain in my knees after running for a while. With a congenital malposition of my feet, every doctor that I have consulted in this regard has told be that this is the cause. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to put up with it and after many years have finally managed to be able to run without pain! Do you, like many others, have knee pain while running? Then read on and I’ll show you what you can do about it!

Busy? Then I’ve summarized the most important information of this blogpost for you.
  • Stretch regularly and mobilize your your hips, knees and ankles before going for a run.
  • In case you take very big steps, shorten them successively. This reduces the strain on your knees.
  • Use a foam roller to roll your IT-band.

Stretching and mobilizing

I already wrote a blogpost about the importance of stretching and mobilizing, not only in the field of sports but also in everyday life: Stretching and mobilizing.

Mobilizing right before working out can prepare your body for what’s about to come. Mobilizing your hips, ankles, and knees right in before going for a run can help you run painlessly.

Stretching, on the other hand, generally helps you to avoid injuries and helps you to perform your best as an athlete. Regularly stretching your calves and thighs, for example (these muscles are usually shortened in runners), can help you to run painlessly.

Shorten your steps

In my case, my long stride while running was certainly one of the main reasons for the pain in my knees. I used to think that big steps made me run faster. Basically this can be correct, but there are some disadvantages to consider.

Big steps put a lot of strain on the joints, especially the knees. With longer strides, the impact of the foot on the floor largely stops our forward motion before our center of gravity moves above the foot and the next step can be taken. This is also known as overstriding and means that you slow yourself down with each step slightly.

With shorter steps, the foot is placed closer to the center of gravity. On the one hand, this means that the impact that has to be stopped is less, and on the other hand that we can take the next step more quickly.

In addition: The larger the steps, the greater the likelihood that we will hit the ground with the heel first. However, our foot is designed in such a way that the arch of the foot can absorb this kind of impact quite well, while our heel is unable to do so. This means that the entire impact is transmitted directly to our joints (ankles, knees), which of course can lead to knee pain.

Foam rolling your IT-Band

A very common problem, the so-called “runner’s knee” occurs when the ilio-tibial band (IT band) rubs against the knee joint. This band runs on the outside of the thigh to the knee joint. Since the knee is constantly bent and stretched while walking, an incorrect load on the foot can quickly cause this kind of friction. Initially, you can usually only feel this when you are running, but as time goes by you can also experience pain in everyday life like I did.

There are several ways to counteract this. I prefer foam rolling the IT-band. To do that you position the foam roller laterally beneath your thigh muscles. Bend the other leg and place it in front of you. Now you roll, starting at the hip, towards the knee and back again. Repeat this a few times. If you find a point at which you feel a particular pressure, stay in this position for a few seconds and before continuing.

Incorporate these 3 things regularly into your week. Hopefully you will feel the same as me and you will be able to run painlessly in the future!

References:
Runnersworld – Der perfekte Laufstil
Runnersworld – The (almost) Magical Foam Roller
Triathlon-Tipps – Die optimale Schrittfrequenz beim Laufen im Triathlon
Runtastic – Knieschmerzen beim Laufen: Top 7 Übungen für das Runner’s Knee

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