At this time of the year, with the sun shining and people feeling full of energy we are seeing lots of people hitting the streets and pounding the pavements. All enjoying new their new hobbies of running, or training for many upcoming events this summer ranging from triathlons, ironman events, fell runs and sponsored fun runs.
With people either taking up running as a new hobby or training for an event, taking care of your knees is important, and aiming on getting your knees to a personal best-why not!
There is a lot of common knee injuries that we see a lot here at Summit Physiotherapy. Those of you reading this blog may be familiar with some of these common injuries, and may have suffered with them yourself! Common knee injuries that can be associated with running are:
- Runners Knee
- ITB Syndrome
- PFP (Patella Femoral Pain)
- Patella Tendonitis
- Cartilage (Meniscus Tears)
These common knee injuries all have different treatment options, and the prognosis is usually good! However, there are a number of things that you can do to prevent these injuries from occurring, and to get your knees to a personal best.
What can you do?
Starting from the feet and working upwards, here are some options for you to consider when looking after your knees, and getting them to a personal best.
Are you wearing the correct footwear when running? Many of us buy running trainers without considering if they are correct for our feet. For example you may have high arches, or your arches may be very flat and if this is supported correctly this can affect the whole biomechanics of your lower leg and thus lead to knee pain/injuries. There are some running shops and specific sports shops that will offer advice on the correct trainers for you. It might be wise to look into this. Or if you are still in doubt, please feel free to contact one of the clinicians here at Summit Physiotherapy for advice on the correct running trainers for you.
Are you stretching your main muscle groups before and after you run? Getting into a good stretching routine can be very beneficial at keeping your injuries at bay, and getting your knees to a personal best. We recommend stretching your calfs, hamstrings and quadriceps before and after running. 30 seconds per muscle group is recommended, and it prevents muscles form getting over tight or getting a muscle imbalance which can cause knee injuries and pain.
Here are some simple stretches for you to do:
Along with stretching, do you own a foam roller? A foam roller is a great piece of equipment and very useful to use for injury prevention and management. A foam roller may become your best friend when you are trying to get your knees to a personal best! You can buy different types of foam rollers, and foam rolling can be uncomfortable to start off with, but it gets easier the more you do it. We recommend foam rolling your calves, hamstrings, quads and not to forget, the ITB.
Foam Rolling the ITB, more specifically tensor fasciae latae (TFL), can be very beneficial for several common knee injuries. TFL is at the top of the ITB and regularly becomes short and overactive. This can cause the ITB to pull on the side of the knee and cause pain when running, foam rolling your TFL is a good way to manage this.
Do you keep your core and glutes strong? Having a strong core and strong glutes may be the missing link if you have been struggling with your knees and want to get your knees to a personal best! Weakness and ineffective recruitment in the gluteals or other main core muscles can effect the control of the pelvis, control of movement of the lower limb and therefore lead to knee pain.
Exercises That Will Help
Some exercises that will be beneficial to your general core strength and preventing knee pain are:
- Glute Bridge
- Side Plank
However, there are many more exercises that will be specific to each person.
If your goal is to go for a personal best with your running this year. And you don’t want your knees to stop you. You may need help. Please Contact Us, and we will be happy to assist you in getting your knees to a personal best!