Ways to Prevent Knee Pain When You Run

Ways to Prevent Knee Pain When You Run - Cambivo

What are the causes of knee pain while running?

Whether or not you’ve been officially diagnosed with runner’s knee -- or you know that something’s wrong in your knee area because it hurts even when you’re not sprinting at a fast clip -- ignoring pain is a prescription for trouble down the road. Allow pain to go unchecked and you risk winding up with a diagnosis of anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral misalignment, chondromalacia patella or iliotibial band syndrome. In other words, ignore knee pain while running at your own risk.


Typical causes for knee pain while running include:

  • Irritation of soft tissue
  • Irritation of the knee lining
  • Strained tendon(s)
  • Torn cartilage
  • Knee overuse
  • Kneecap trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Misaligned kneecap
  • Flat feet
  • Partial or complete kneecap dislocation
  • Weakened thigh muscles
  • Insufficient stretching before runs
  • Fractured kneecap
  • Inflamed joint lining (e.g., plica syndrome or synovial plica syndrome)
  • Referred pain that originates in the back or hip.


12 Simple ways to prevent knee pain from impacting your run

Recommendations from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons include these steps:
  1. Stay in shape but avoid excessive exercise that increases your risk.
  2. If you have weight issues, adopt a sensible weight loss plan.
  3. Wear running shoes that are designed for the running you prefer.
  1. Consider a knee brace for running for support and lessening knee pain while running.
  2. Have your running posture been checked by a professional to see if it needs correcting.
  3. Get proper nutrition recommended for runners.
  4. Stretch leg muscles (at least 5 minutes) to pre-condition your knees before running.
  1. Increase the speed at which you run gradually to protect your joints.
  2. Invest in orthotics if your feet are flat to solve knee pain while running issues.
  3. Use the proper running form to avoid leaning too far forward or backward.
  4. Run on smooth, soft surfaces and avoid concrete.
  5. Slow down and adopt a zigzag pattern when tackling steep inclines.


Exercises to strengthen your knees

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) website is but one of the reesources you can turn to for knee strengthening exercises prescribed by sports physiologists and doctors. The NHS recommends these exercises to condition muscles supporting the knee that also stretch out the iliotibial band (ITB) that runs down the outside of the thigh. Adopt these exercises and runners should begin to see benefits in around two weeks, especially if exercises are paired with wearing a knee brace for running.
  • Knee bends (3 sets of 10 reps)
  • Thigh contractions (3 sets of 15 seconds on each leg)
  • Straight leg raises (3 sets of 10 reps on each leg)
  • Hamstring stretches with thigh contraction (3 sets of 15 seconds on each leg)
  • ITB(iliotibial band) stretches (3 sets of 15 seconds on each leg)
  • Squats (3 sets of 10 reps)
  • Single leg squats (3 sets of 5 reps on each leg)
  • Wide stance single leg squats (3 sets of 5 reps on each leg)
  • Lunges (3 sets of 5 reps on each leg).


What to do after running to keep your knees pain-free?

  • Rest your knee so you don’t further exacerbate pain and discomfort.
  • Ice the knee to reduce pain and swelling (from 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours).
  • Wrap your knee in patellar straps, an elastic bandage, or a compression sleeve for extra support to relieve knee pain while running.

  • Elevate your knee when lying down or sitting to eliminate the gravity factor.
  • Take over-the-counter NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen or naproxen) to reduce pain and swelling. Seek another pharmaceutical if you suffer from ulcers or internal bleeding.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises that focus on your quadriceps can also counter knee pain while running.
  • Try wearing arch supports or orthotics if your feet are flat or if you’ve had issues with running shoe support in the past. The best orthotics are custom-made. If you can’t afford them, purchase ready-made products.
  • Consider adding a knee brace for running to your gear stash to solve immediate knee pain issues to deal with possible future diagnoses.
  • See a specialist if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. You might need surgery or more advanced treatment to take care of your problem.


The wisdom of acquiring a knee brace for running

You do everything it takes to keep your knees in good shape, but as the co-director of Mayo Clinic’s sports medicine center Dr. Edward Laskowski says, braces can reinforce your knee area until your own, natural “muscle brace” heals itself. Today’s product offerings are expansive. The most common come in three categories:
1. Bands and Straps. Easy to wear; these fit under clothing and they do a decent job of applying effective, pain-relieving pressure during the healing process.
2. Most often recommended for runners suffering from mild to chronic knee pain and arthritis, compression sleeves/braces redistribute weight to relieve pain throughout the healing process.
3. Wraparounds work best on mild to moderate knee pain as well as dislocations and patellar instability. Wrap style braces can be custom fitted to your knee so you focus on your run, not your pain.

Additionally, a clinical study described in the U.S. National Institutes of Health website compared a prophylactic knee brace and two types of neoprene knee sleeves to see how they contributed or detracted from runners' performance. All three proved equally beneficial ways that recommend a knee brace for running.
Scientists concluded that each knee brace for running will “protect the knee and at the same time they do not deteriorate the performance of the athlete.” As a result, running team coaches and runners can count on these knee brace products for both prophylactic and protective use since they all help runners deal with knee pain while running quite effectively.


You might want to read: What does a Knee Compression Sleeve do?