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This is why your knees hurt after running

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This is why your knees hurt after running
aSticking to your fitness routine can provide numerous health benefits. It’s not just hitting the pavement that plays a role lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementiabut it too releases neurochemicals in your brain which, among other things, boost your mood and increase your self-confidence. Unfortunately, sometimes all that running can come at a cost, and your knees may ache after a run. Knee pain after and during running can occur due to factors such as incorrect technique, tight muscles, improper warm-up and even wearing the wrong shoes. But good news: the pain doesn’t have to stop you from putting on those sneakers for good.

What is runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee (or, in more scientific terms, chondromalacia patella) can occur when the cartilage under the kneecap is damaged. It is one of the most common injuries runners face because cartilage is a natural shock absorber.

According to Becks Gentrya Peloton tread instructor and Nike Run ambassador, there are a few different reasons why these symptoms – also called kneecap pain, swelling, or popping or grinding sensations – surface in the first place.

But runner’s knee is also an umbrella term for all the knee pain runners can experience, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with damaged cartilage, says the physical therapy doctor. Kelly Starrettauthor, professional athlete coach, mobility expert and founder of The ready state. Instead, Starrett says to think of knee pain as your body’s way of signaling a “request for change” in some aspect of your training, mobility and readiness.

What causes runner’s knee?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause because knee pain is a signal that your body’s overall readiness to run is off.

“There are many reasons why your brain suddenly makes you pay attention to your knee,” says Starrett. “You could have done a lot of volume and then sat down. You could have been super stressed in your life, work and family. You could be malnourished and the quality of your tissue doesn’t allow you to be robust and do the volume.” that didn’t warm you up. So many things could happen here.”

All of these factors can cause a lack of mobility in your hip flexors, tight muscles and tendons, tender muscle tissue, and congestion in the connectivity between your muscles. These physical symptoms can cause pain up to the knee, especially in runners who often have tight quads, which are connected to the knee (along with the calves and hamstrings). When you experience tightness and limited range of motion, your body sends a signal to your brain that your knee may be in danger, which we interpret as pain.

“Areas of that musculature can absolutely refer the pain all the way to the knee,” says Starrett.

Other common causes of knee pain while running

Other common problems that cause knee pain, according to Gentry, stem from eating a poor diet that builds up toxins and can contribute to inflammation, wearing shoes that don’t provide enough support and not having enough recovery time. “It’s important to let the body rest, adapt and recover before the next run,” she says. “Massage and Epsom salt baths are something I always recommend when runners have muscle soreness, as they can both help shorten recovery time and soothe the body.”

As for shoes, make sure you wear a shoe made for your foot type and replace your shoes about every six months (or sooner, depending on how much mileage you do).

You’re going too hard, too fast

As exciting as it can be to start a new exercise program or modality, you should always scale back initially to give your body time to get used to your workout. “You can suffer from runner’s knee if you increase your mileage too quickly, because going from zero to countless miles in a short period of time can cause body pain and aggravation,” says Gentry.

To get around this, start modestly. And if you’re not sure what that looks like, consider getting help from a professional running coach or using an app with running plans, like the Nike Run Club app.

Your technique needs improvement

Another reason you may experience knee pain while running is poor technique, says Gentry. It happens to the best of us, especially when we get tired, but it’s definitely something you should actively think about while running.

Make sure your hips are not shifted back, your head is in a neutral position, your shoulders are relaxed, your chest is open, and you are swinging your arms forward and back. You’ll also want to avoid kicking your butt, as this can place unnecessary stress on muscle groups such as your hamstrings, which can result in pulling on other muscles and aggravating your knees. In addition, you should try to touch the ground with your midfoot and ensure that you are not running with your knees locked.

4 ways to keep running from hurting your knees

While it’s great to get rid of the pain, there are also some ways to keep your knees from hurting. Starrett describes this as “changing the input so that local tissue physiology is improved and the brain recognizes that these positions are safe.”

1. Practice isometric exercises

“The first order of business is trying to see if we can signal to the brain that these positions of the knee in motion are safe,” says Starrett. “The easiest way to do that is to have someone do isometrics, which are muscle contractions without movement.” The idea is that if you mimic the movements of running for a longer period of time, your brain will learn that these are ‘safe’ positions, and so pain signals will not be triggered in the future. It will also help you achieve your full range of motion, which should help with knee pain.

“It makes us feel very comfortable in those positions and ultimately restores our native range,” says Starrett.

Starrett recommends knee pain moves such as doing lunges, eventually moving to raised leg lunges while breathing deeply, flexing your glutes and holding the position.

“Get into a big lunge position with feet pointed straight, both feet pointing straight forward, all toes on the ground,” says Starrett. “You’re going to lower yourself down until you feel a pull in your back leg. But more importantly, until you can still squeeze your glutes on the back leg. Hold that for five to 10 big breaths, because if you don’t You can breathe in a position, you don’t own that position. And running is about moving from position to position while breathing hard.

2. Practice soft tissue mobilization (foam rolling)

Tightness in your soft tissues can cause pain in your knees, so you’ll want to foam roll (especially on your quads), focusing on the areas where you feel pain when they’re compressed by the foam roller or pressure point ball.

“Restricted tissue can cause tension,” says Starrett. “It can change your gait, it can cause your brain to sense something happening in the knee. It doesn’t matter what the mechanism is. If I put you on a roller on your quads, it should just feel like pressure .It shouldn’t feel like you’re being swamped.”

3. Train with a running coach

People think running is one of those things you just do, but if you learn how to run correctly from the start, you can keep your knees healthy for years to come. “If you’re unsure of proper running technique, find a coach who can help you analyze your running style and work with you to make it stronger,” says Gentry.

4. Invest in a good pair of running shoes and socks

You wouldn’t show up to swim practice without a quality swimsuit, right? The same goes for running: you need reliable equipment to get the job done. “The technology in sneakers today is very advanced and most running shoes are designed to support the human body, so it’s a good idea to go to a running store for a gait analysis,” says Gentry. “In most cases, they can show you shoes that suit your natural walking style. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes.”

5. Keep a training diary

To make sure you don’t overdo it (especially early in your running journey), take the time to track your sessions. “Starting a training diary allows you to clearly see and outline the days you spend running, training and recovering,” says Gentry. “This way you can balance yourself and not do too much too fast.”

6. Build your muscle strength

Adding some strength training to the mix can do wonders to protect your body.And making you a better runner. “Building your muscle strength is so important. There are muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding every joint. Runners need to make sure their entire body is cared for and strengthened while running, given the impact it has on the body,” says Gentry. . “Using bodyweight or weighted exercises and focusing on single-leg strength, as well as two-leg strength, will help you build your strength and hopefully keep knee injuries at bay.”

We know running with knee pain isn’t ideal, but if you make sure you’re wearing the right gear, focus on your form and do cross-training sessions (strength training is your best friend), recovery and eating. food to fuel you, it should be gone in no time! And never underestimate the power of ice cream massages and Epsom salt baths.

Is it okay to keep running with runner’s knee?

Try practicing the above techniques, focusing on isometric exercises and soft tissue mobilization. If that does not relieve the pain, you should consult a doctor.

Is runner’s knee going away?

If you allow yourself to recover properly from the exertion of running, and you practice isometric exercises and soft tissue mobilization, runner’s knee should go away. If this is not the case, you should consult your doctor.