Running and knee injuries are not synonymous but they are often attributed to one another. Risk for knee injuries are lower with proper training, but in most cases, when runners overuse or fail to train properly, they put a lot of pressure and burden on their knees, causing injuries.
Running is actually healthy for the joints and doesn’t do damage to the knees. However, being overweight and an intensive running routine can be dangerous for your knees’ health. Overuse, trauma in the kneecap, worn and torn cartilage are other reasons why your knees hurt after or during a run.
Preventing Knee Injuries from Running
Running is good for the body and should never be bad for your knees. Follow these tips to fully enjoy the benefits of running while keeping your knees in their best shape.
Improve Your Running Technique
Heel striking when running can be bad for your knees. The key to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees is to avoid over-striding. When you let your legs spring rearward, unto your heels, instead of forward, you are applying breaks while running, making it hard for your knees. Knees are designed to help move and were never intended to absorb shock from running.
It would be better to lean from your ankles as you run. Be cautious and ensure that your feet are landing beneath you, instead of in front of you. It would be difficult at first but with practice, you’ll get the hang of how to properly run without putting an impact on your knees.
Form When Running
The best form when running is to have your knees soft and bent with the entire body leaning forward. When your foot is in front of your body instead of the other way around, you are applying brakes to your run. It causes deceleration and this pressure goes straight to your knees.
Landing on your knees when they are fully extended increases the risks of knee injury. Landing on your knee in this position puts a huge amount of impact on your knee and the heel. The best position to land on your foot is when your knee is bent. Memorizing the body position may seem complicated, but it is actually not. You’ll feel the instant change while running when you adjust your body’s form.
Your feet should be aimed in the direction you are running. If your feet splay, torquing in the knee area happens in every step you take. When this occurs, it twists your knees, causing it to hurt or risking it to damage even in a short run.
Make a conscious effort to rotate the entire leg inward so that they fall parallel to each other in every step that you take. Realigning your legs and keeping them pointed forward frees the knee from any twisting or pressure. Practice brisk walking in this form and your feet will gradually align parallel to each other as you increase your speed and begin to run.
Misalignment in your legs while running for a long period of time can cause pain on your legs, and can be easily mistaken for as a knee problem. Keeping your toes forward while running can be quite challenging, but is always possible with practice and persistence.
If you love running, taking good care of your knees should be a priority. A few improvements in your running form, foot landing, and foot alignment can eliminate the risks of knee pain and injury.