The last thing any runner, new or seasoned, would want to suffer is a bad case of runner’s knee. This happens when pain or inflammation around or under the kneecap. This is the kind of condition that can make it hard to motivate yourself to continue your running habit. If you’re suffering from runner’s knee, remember to Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate (or RICE) and there are ways of exercises and stretches for knee pain relief.
In order to prevent another episode of runner’s knee, you’ll have to do exercises and keep you mobile for years to come. Why neglect your knees when they play the most viable role in your mobility? If you want to preserve and protect your knees from one of the worst possible amounts of pain and keep your running habit alive, you might want to utilize these four exercises and stretches for knee pain relief that will make your knees say “thank you” instead of “ouch”.
These exercises focus on your quads, calves, and hamstrings. You should also include lateral exercises that strengthen the muscles around your knees. Let’s break down each of the four so you can start them as early as today:
If you’re anywhere close to a wall, you can perform what is known as a wall sit. This exercise is proven to strengthen your quads. Even better, you can do them just about anywhere.
How to do the Wall Sit:
- Stand with your back against the wall. Spread your feet within a hip’s distance away from each other and in front of you. Slide your back down the wall and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Your thighs must be parallel to each other.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Then return to a standing position. That’s one rep. Do 3 reps total.
- Pro-Challenge: 7Alternate your wall sits between heels. Start off by lifting your left heel off the floor. Then alternate with your right on the next rep. Not only will this work the quads, but your calves will also be incorporated using this method.
If you're still looking for a little bit of help stretching out the calves foam rollers can also help a lot.
This muscle group is important to stretch if your goal is to protect your knees. Well-stretched and loosened calves will definitely play a supporting role in preventing runner’s knee. Here’s a go-to calf stretches for knee pain relief you can use right now:
Stand an arms distance away from the wall.
Begin by stepping your left foot forward and your right leg behind you. Bend your left knee while pressing your right heel. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and alternate legs. Hold for same time.
Your quads and hamstrings are supposed to work together as a cohesive unit. If your quads get weak and your hamstrings get tight, your knees will be in deep trouble. The following is a stretch you can use to help your hamstrings do its part to keep your knees sharp:
Stand with your feet within a hip’s distance away from each other.
Interlace your hands behind your back. As you keep your legs straight, bend at the hips while tucking your chin towards your chest. Bring your hands over your head.
Be sure to relax your neck. If the stretch gets too intense, place your hands on the back of your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds and return to a standing position slowly.
If you think your side muscles are not important to your knees, think again. These muscles help support your knee joints and keep them strong. The last thing you need in your life are weak joints. One exercise to try out is a side lunge. This is one of the important stretches for knee pain relief. Here’s how to do it:
Your feet should be directly under your hips. Next, step with your right foot wide to the side coming into a lunge position with your left fingers touching your right foot. Do not allow your right knee to go past your right toes.
Push your right foot back into a standing position. Then side lunge to the left position. That’s one rep.
Remember the goal is to get rid of OR reduce you're chances of getting “runner’s knee”. The good news is exercises like these do indeed help a lot in that direction.