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April 9, 2019
Are you new to running and struggling with pain around the knee? Or perhaps you’re a frequent, even competitive runner and you view your knees as a ‘weakness’ that limits your progress?
Knee pain (or injury) is the most common musculoskeletal reason for people to attend a GP or hospital appointment. While the knee is a fairly small and simple joint, pain here can be caused by a number of different factors.
At The Treatment Room, we can assess your knee and identify what is causing the pain, and work on getting you back to your training routine as quickly as possible.
The main types of knee pain which you may feel when you run are:
Whilst these terms seem very scientific, we can easily break them down to help you understand the issues. The main difference between these three conditions is where the pain is and when it is felt.
ITB friction syndrome is felt on the outside of the knee, and can be aggravated when running;
Patella tendonitis is felt below the kneecap, and can be aggravated going up-and-down-stairs, during running or during activity that bends the knee;
Patella femoral pain syndrome is felt below the kneecap and possibly in the joint, and can be aggravated through running, felt after the run, and going up-and-down stairs.
There are a few very easy ways to fix these issues that can also be used to make sure that these injuries don’t occur in the first place:
Overload is one of the main causes of any injury. This is where the intensity of training has increased too quickly, and the body hasn’t yet been able to adapt to these new loads.
An easy way to monitor this is to track your rate of perceived exertion (RPE).
For every session that you complete, scale the session out of 10 for how difficult the session felt (where 10 is the most difficult), and multiply that by the number of minutes you trained for. Complete for all sessions during the week to give a total training load that you can compare week to week.
RPE x Minutes = Session Load
Add all ‘Session Loads’ together = Weekly Load
Ideally, loads would not increase or decrease more than 10% from the week before. If they do increase more than 10% each week, this could be a sign of possible overtraining, so reducing either the length or difficulty of your sessions would help to reduce your injury risk.
Maintaining an even and progressive training volume ensures your body can recover, adapt and be ready for the next session.
Single leg strength
Increasing your body’s ability to do more on one leg, under control, will help to strengthen your run and reduce injury risk. The body can be very good when standing on two legs, but when having to use one leg at a time (as in running) its capacity to complete certain activities for prolonged periods can be low. When increasing running distance / speed, the body can struggle to meet the demands being placed upon it and injury risk is increased. Increasing glute, calf and hamstring strength can be a way to increase that stability. Some examples of exercises to do this are:
Single leg squat
Crab walks –
Foot / ankle strength
Your feet have a lot to do with how your legs move in walking and running, and thus are linked to how stable the body is on one leg. If you have ever been told you have ‘flat feet’, so you run with most of the weight on the inside edge of your feet, or your knees tend to buckle inwards when you run, increasing your foot strength could increase how efficiently your body moves when running. One exercise to achieve this is:
Ball squeeze calf raise –
Whether you are currently in pain, have had pain previously and don’t want it to happen again, or just wish to reduce your injury risk, our therapists at The Treatment Room are here to help you. By assessing your movement, key areas of strength and talking through your training schedule, a plan tailored to you to help reach your goals can be established.
For further information about The Treatment Room, and to arrange a FREE 10-minute consultation, please click here.