8 Ways On How To Save Your Knees While Running
What Do You Do When Your Knee Hurts from Running?

8 Ways On How To Save Your Knees While Running

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Where sports injuries are concerned, your knees are perhaps the most affected area.

This is especially true if you're a runner.

You definitely want to know how to save your knees while running.

Whether you are into long races, trail running, or sprinting keeping your knees healthy is extremely important to reach and maintain your fitness goals. 

For that reason, you need to take good care of them.

Most knee injuries and knee pain from running just show up unexpectedly.

Unfortunately, since running is a high impact sport runners are vulnerable to experiencing knee pain.

This can be uncomfortable and discouraging, especially if running is your most preferred way of keeping fit.

Fortunately, you can do something about it.

We have compiled a list of tips to help you know how to save your knees while running.

Ensure You Don’t Heel-Strike

A common cause of knee pain comes from runner's knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome, which occurs from overstriding.

This happens when your feet are always ahead relative to the knees, which forces you to heel strike.

Ideally, you want your contact with the ground to be under your center of gravity.

In addition, this will improve your performance and reduce your chance of experiencing pain or injury.

When the feet hit the ground ahead of the knees, each foot strike acts as a brake, and that sends stresses to your knees.

The anatomy of your knees does not equip them to act as a shock absorber.

With time, this stress causes sore muscles or achy joints.

If you notice any kind of discomfort around the knee cap, there's a good chance you might be overstriding.

Here’s what to do. Lean slightly forward from the hip and increase your cadence to 90 strides per minute or 180 steps.

This can be done by running with music that correlates with that pace.

Also, allow your feet to land below rather than ahead of you.

Don’t Lift Your Knees When Running

That’s correct. Do not pay attention to the things you read in magazines that advise you to lift the knees if you are looking for a longer step unless you are a sprinter. 

It is definitely not the way to cover a distance longer than one mile. 

When you lift the knees, your feet hit the ground ahead of you and each stride is like a brake trying to stop your body which can lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Instead, allow your knees to swing a little lower.

As you approach the back end of a stride, bend the knees as you allow your heels to float in your wake.

Lean Forward

An important thing to remember is that each time the feet strike the ground ahead of your body, you are decelerating, and the impact goes straight to the knees.

Leaning slightly forward at the hip will help you have a mid-foot contact with the ground when you run.

This, in turn, reduce the impact on your knees and help prevent any pain.

Keep the Knees Bent and Soft

Keep the Knees Bent and Soft

Most runners tend to over-stride followed by a straight knee as the feet hit the ground.

This causes a lot of stress to the knee and heel which can lead to pain.

Instead, shorten your stride to ensure your legs have a natural bend when your foot makes contact.

Keep Pointed in the Direction You Are Going

Sometimes, knee pain results from splaying or spreading out the metatarsal bones (toes).

When you splay, a lot of torque is applied to the knees each time your feet strike the ground. 

To minimize knee joint pain, ensure that your feet are pointing straight forward.

Also, be sure to rotate your leg in the inward direction toward the center line until both feet are parallel.

This way, you are able to straighten the abductors, which will realign the knees.

Moreover, your knee cap will orient in the correct direction rather than twisting and bending as your jog.

Be careful. Foot splaying causes inflammation of the iliotibial region, which connects to your tibia immediately below the knees.

For long-lasting relief, ensure you practice medial rotation (towards the midline) for a few weeks so that your knees can adjust to this change.

A change in biomechanics takes time to work.

Proper Shoes

After you master the proper form for running, then the next step is to get the right shoes.

Luckily there are many specialty stores that can help you with this.

They will analyze your gait and tell you which one will give the support you need. 

Athletic shoes are designed for the three different foot types: neutral, flat, and high arch.

Here's a great neutral running shoe to try if that's how your foot pronates.

It's very important to wear one that is designed for your type of feet.

In addition, this will decrease the impact of your running and reduce the risk of pain.

Find a Smoother Training Surface

If you are used to a smooth flat training surface, there is no need to change to rougher terrain.

Sometimes, changing terrains can cause knee joint pain and other knee problems.

This is because you will be subjecting your feet to a surface they are not used to.

You may want to try trail running to challenge yourself, but the up and down and uneven surface could put too much stress on the knees.

However, if you do decide to try something new, make sure you go slow and do short distances to start.

This will give your body time to adjust and reduce your risk of injury.

Use Anti-Inflammatory Remedies 

Corrective biomechanics does not work for everyone.

Some runners don’t find immediate relief when they undergo changing their running style. 

Therefore, if you find it impossible to continue with your normal routine, the other option is to try anti-inflammatory medication like Advil.

If pills aren't your thing then try a topical cream like Penetrex or Biofreeze.

This remedy suits runners who are preparing for an upcoming race and have no time to learn new ways to make strides without feeling pain.

However, if your knee pain persists then you should consult a qualified physician.

Since anti-inflammatory remedies only provide temporary relief, they could be masking a more serious problem.

They simply help you feel less pain so that you can perform at a near optimum level.

If nothing else works, find time after the race to address this problem permanently.

Wrap Up

Protecting the knees is a priority especially if you have a passion for running.

Now that you have learned how to save your knees while running, you can continue doing the sport you love.

By correcting your running form and having the proper shoes you will be able to have healthy knees and reduce your risk of injury.