Running can certainly be atrocious for the knees and joints so it is not unusual that when somebody’s knee goes out and their buddies ask them how it happened, they are prompt to respond, “it happened recently while I was running…” People usually blame running for all their knee issues, when actually that is not always the case. It is not running that is leading to injuries, it is rather the way people run. Knee pain after running commonly known as runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) is the most frequent complaint among runners. But it can also impact athletes who indulge in activities requiring a lot of knee bending, for instance, weight lifting, jumping or people who already experience cycling knee pain. The result usually causes soaring pain and discomfort around the knee cap.
Here are some of the causes of getting knee pain after running:
- When a person straightens or bends his knee, the kneecap tracks inaccurately over a trench in the thighbone.
- Running or walking with the feet rolling in, while the thigh muscles stretch the kneecap outward.
- Tight Achilles tendons which is basically a rubbery, tough cord at the back of the ankle that unites the bone to the muscle. Constant running can lead to wear and tear to the tendon eventually.
- Weak or tight thigh muscles.
- Excessive overuse or training.
- Poor support to the feet that is, if you run uphill and your footwear is not supportive enough then it can lead to swelling and pain.
- Shin pain which occurs below the knee, on the front of the leg. If runners carry on running with pain in the shin, it can cause a terrible damage to that area.
- Straight trauma to the knee like a blow or fall.
- Misalignment that is, if the kneecap is somewhat out of its appropriate position then physical stress will not be distributed uniformly throughout the body, thus causing damage and pain to the knee joints.
- Tight hamstrings
Some parts of the knee that can be damaged include:
- Condromalacia Patella: Pain or injury in the front portion of the knee around the kneecap including the bones and tendons. During sports especially running, these parts are put under high pressure and loading, causing tissue breakdown and consequent pain in the knee.
- Knee Cartilage: Cartilage surface is the thickest in the entire human body but it begins to wear out after the age of 15. It can also become damaged as a result of sports related injury or fall.
- Bursitis: There is a minute lubricating sac between the three tendons at the interior of the knee and the shinbone. Overworking the knees or stressing the bursa can result in bursitis, that is inflammation which is a very common condition among runners. It is mainly caused due to tight hamstrings or obesity or incorrect training techniques for running.
- Knee Ligament: The ligaments around the knees are tough but they often become sprained or injured or ruptured. It is usually caused if the knee is moved farther than its usual range of movement. For instance, quick changes of direction during running mainly lead to anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
- Patella: Quadriceps tendon or patella allows the knee to straighten. If you fall suddenly on a bent knee, the quadriceps contract and if the tendon in not able to hold the force, it ruptures.
When your knee is less hurtful, things can be bettered by following the right exercises. You can also do the hamstring stretch and strengthen the thigh muscles.
- Quadriceps Stretch: Stand in front of a wall at an arm’s length with your injured knee away from the wall. Facing straight, clamp yourself by keeping one hand against the wall and holding the ankle of the injured side with the other hand. Pull your heels towards the hips and keep both the knees united. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds.
- Straight Leg Raise: Lie down on your back straight and bend your knee on the injured side. Stiffen the thigh muscles on the injured side and raise your leg 7 inches off the floor and then slowly bring it down. Repeat it 10 times in 2 sets.
- Side Lying Leg Raise: Lie down on the uninjured side and clench the front thigh muscles on the same side. Lift the uninjured leg 9 inches away from the other leg. Hold it straight and bring it down slowly. Repeat it 10 times 2 sets.
Getting a knee pain after running can be frustrating especially when you just love to run. By incorporating an appropriate exercise regime, you can restore the strength around your knee and refurbish flexibility throughout the effected area and get back on the road.