If you’re a runner, it’s good to know how to prevent knee injuries from running! Did you know that approximately 4 times your body weight passes through a knee with each foot strike? It’s no surprise that knee injuries and knee pain are a common problem with runners.
Before we get into preventing running knee injuries from your running, though, encountering some knee pain could be a good thing?
Why? Because if you realize you’re having knee pain early enough, you might make some changes and prevent worse knee injuries.
There are more serious injuries from running, but the majority of knee injuries from running start with overuse. These injuries are due to the constant and repeated stress on the joint itself along with the surrounding soft tissues.
If you are dealing with overuse issues, and you’re not wearing knee support, that would be my first and immediate move.
It's quite possible, even likely, that if you're dealing with common pain from overuse, one of the knee sleeves on that page will help. It can generate enough heat and compression to the knee for healing while you continue to run.
How to Prevent Knee Injuries from Running
1. Wearing the right shoes
Shoes play a vital part in avoiding knee injuries while running
As a runner, nothing is more important than finding and running in quality shoes that fit right!
If you’re wearing incorrect shoes you could be putting a ton of undue stress on your knees as your feet aren’t turned right, or striking the ground wrong.
If you have a wide foot, by shoes that fit rather than “making do” with shoes that don’t fit.
Your running shoes will need to provide a lot of support.
If you can bend them double, chances are you aren’t getting the support your feet, knees, and legs need. And don’t wait until you’ve worn out your shoes to change the inserts?
Insoles are something that needs to be changed often and be sure to buy ones that are a little rigid and high quality.
Believe it not, when it comes to how to prevent knee injuries in running, stretching is probably your biggest asset. It’s easy to dismiss a stretching routine before a run, but it’s vital to get all your muscles warm, fluid, and stretched out prior to stressing them.
Knee pain and injuries often start with your quads and hamstrings, so stretching and warming up for a run and after can go along way towards keeping you safe.
Warming up your muscles, tendons, and joints will get the blood flowing and stressing cold muscles and tendons is always asking for trouble.
3. Wear quality knee sleeves
Speaking of warming up, wearing the best sleeves for knees provides compression to your knees and adjacent muscles and tendons.
That compression effect is for increasing blood flow to the area and keeping your knees warm.
Knee sleeves provide real support, stability, and relief from pain. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your knees and thighs are most likely to suffer from running.
ACL tears, arthritis, ligaments in and around your thighs and knees cause soreness, pain, and inflammation that interferes with your running routines.
Knee sleeves can help prevent and keep you running safely and comfortably.
4. Cross training
One reason running is so popular is that it’s so simple.
In fact, it’s so simple to be a runner, that it’s easy to focus on only one method of exercising — running more. When you’re only using running for exercise, though, your body is getting out of balance.
Protect yourself with more core training and strengthening workouts that add strength to the front and the back of your thighs.
When you use core strengthening workouts you’ll also be building muscles in your hips and butt.
5. Don’t over run
If you’re doing too much, you’re going to damage your knees, hips, legs and every muscle concerned.
Don’t sit around the house all winter and then hit the road for long distances. Instead, start out slow as if you are the beginner you are after spending the winter on the couch.
Build your body and endurance back up slowly. Take rest days every week, and mix short and long runs up. Start slow and think about how many days a week you should run.
6. Proper Running Form to Prevent Knee Pain
Running with good form will help your speed and you’ll be more comfortable. When you’re more comfortable you reduce the stress on your body which leads to less knee injuries from running. Good form will also reduce running fatigue helping you recover faster.
How to Run With Form
- Lengthen Your View. Train yourself to know what’s going on as far down the road or track as possible — while repeatedly looking from 10 to 20 feet in front of you.
- Keep Your Body Erect. Running posture means not allowing your upper body to lean forward or back from your waist. Run with your head up and shoulders level.
- Shoulders Relaxed. Don’t hunch your shoulders over or shrug them. Keep them over your trunk, square and relaxed. Relaxed shoulders make breathing more natural and easier.
- Swing Your Arms Straight. If you’re swinging your arms from side to side instead of from front to back, you’re probably slouching. Swing them from the shoulder joints, pushing your elbows backward, almost like using ski poles.
- Minimize Bounce. Bouncing when you run uses far too much energy and breath. If you’re bouncing, try thinking of yourself as gliding and landing softly.
Common Knee Injuries In Runners
The most common injuries from running are:
- Ligament Tears
- Tendon injuries
- Softening of cartilage
- Cartilage tears
Symptoms to look for:
- Tender kneecap
- Swollen or puffy on the front side of the knees
- Stiffness and lessening of motion
- Sensitive to touch on the sides of your knee
- Locking or catching
- Pain with movement
- Grinding at the kneecap
What Causes Knee Injuries
The majority of knee injuries caused by running result from overuse and tendon strains of muscles that connect to the knees, mainly quadriceps and hamstrings.
Pain is often is the result of that continuous and repetitive stress to your tendons controlling the joint surfaces of the kneecap sliding up and down as you run.
Patella (knee cap) mal-tracking happens a lot in runners. You’ll recognize patella mal-tracking as aching type of pain in the front of your knee and more often either running downhill, or walking after a run.
One of the most important features of knee sleeves support is patella support. This is especially true of knee support with some sort of extra padding or cover for the knee cap.
The main cause of injury for beginner runners is increasing the mileage too quickly. You wind up with an injury known as chondromalacia patella, or runners knee. The more common symptom of runners knee is pain around and behind the knee cap.
The key for beginner runners is to increase your distance no more than 10% a week. Going too far, too fast causes you to get ahead of muscle development and lengthening.
More Acute Knee Injuries
More often than not, injuries like ligament tears and cartilage tears happen from falling or sudden twisting in the joint.
If you have incurred a more acute knee injury, your physician will probably advise you to wear a more aggressive knee support device. You will need extra support that reduces twisting of the joint.
That extra support for more acute knee injuries is usually provided by either knee support sleeves with straps and buckles for stabilizing your knee or hinged braces. If hinged braces are prescribed by your doctor, you’re probably not ready for running?
How to Save Your Knees While Running
Running is a great way to maintain your health and I’ve never found another exercise that I enjoy more.
But whether you’re running a marathon, or just enjoying daily jogs at the local walking track, running is hard on your joints, and especially your knees.
I doubt that knee sleeves are going to help you run any faster (unless you are battling a sore joint or muscles), but they can sure help me run farther and more comfortably.
They create a sense of confidence and well being as they support and keep your knees in line.
Like so many other things in life, you’ll never know if knee sleeves are good for running until you give them a try. You should try them yourself, you could be the next advocate of quality knee sleeves for running.
Knee injuries from running are the most common and most dreaded issues for runners. However, running and knee injuries don’t have to go together. If there is a key to how to prevent knee injuries from running, it’s to develop good habits. Keep “how to prevent knee injuries from running” on your mind, and put the 6 tips in this post to use in your running adventures.