The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of four main components: bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Many if these structures can be susceptible to injury. In many cases, injuries involve more than one structure in the knee. The most common knee injuries for runners include:
Clearly stated in the name, ‘runner’s knee’ is the most common knee injury amongst runners. It is caused by overuse and thus damage to the cartilage underneath the knee cap (chondromalacia). A common symptom is knee pain on the anterior aspect of the knee that gets worse when walking up or down stairs, kneeling or squatting.
Jumper’s knee also known as patellar tendonitis is also an overuse injury caused by the inflammation of the patellar tendon. Usually the individual will feel pain and swelling around the anterior portion of the knee.
Read more: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Jumper’s Knee
Pes Anserine Bursitis
Pes anserine bursitis is caused by inflammation of the bursa, which a fluid filled sac that cushions the joint. This bursa is located between the tibia and the tendons of the hamstring. Inflammation and swelling can arise when the bursa is irritated and produces too much fluid which can put stress on the inside of the knee.
Pain in the knee - What can I do?
If you have suffered from an injury, we firstly recommend you visit a doctor or a specialist to determine the cause and attain a more detailed plan on how to recover. Although, the best way to take care of an injury is to rest. Your body can only take so much strain before the pain worsens in the long run. If your knee is in pain after a run, we suggest you pinpoint the area of pain and apply an ice pack to the area. In order to not damage to tissue with the cold, it is best to wrap the ice pack with a towel or another material. We suggest cooling your knee for maximum 20 mins a day and to have the knee elevated to reduce swelling. Some supports such as the sports compression knee support that add compression to the area, aid by reducing swelling and stimulating metabolism.
Knee pain from running - Why is my knee hurting when I run?
There definitely are other contributing factors that can worsen a knee injury. If possible it is important to try and identify then and thus try and eliminate them. Some contributing factors include:
Shoes are a very important contributing factor. A running shoe should protect the foot and the runner from injury. It provides stabilisation of the foot and protects skin from damage. It should also limit harmful impact forces as the foot strikes the ground, while returning energy to the runner. Although, it should be noted that shoes do not cause injury, rather modify the training load a runner can take before sustaining an injury. Therefore, shoes cannot cure or cause injuries, but they form part of an approach to avoid injury. As stated before, most injuries are due to overuse. Finding the right shoes that support good form whilst running will help you absorb the impact with minimal damage. We recommend you replace your shoes every 1000km to make sure they are still supporting you as best as they should.
One of the beauties of running is that you can pretty much run on any surface. Although, not all surfaces are the same. If you vary your location and you’ll vary your session due to the different impacts involved and the stress that makes its way up to your joints.
Grass – Grass terrain has the lest harmful impact on your joints due to soft padding. Running on grass actually also make your muscles work harder which in turn will create strength and help you improve for when you return to running on concrete. Although, most grass areas are uneven and therefore, you may run the risk of attaining an ankle injury.
Read more : Running on Grass vs Concrete: Does it matter?
Dirt Trails – Usually these surfaces are quite soft which can definitely be beneficial and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Usually the best thing about trail runs are the views you also get! Although, it is important to note than some trail roads can be muddy or slippery which can also cause an injury.
Synthetic Track – Synthetic tracks are able to provide quite a good surface for running which can minimise the impact on your joints. A great thing about synthetic tracks is they make measuring your distance pretty easy as they are exactly 400m around. Although with the two long curves on each lap, your knees, ankles and hips are put under more stress than usual.
Treadmill – Treadmills are great as they are easy on your joints. They also tend to be great a helping you maintain your pace. Although, running on a treadmill can be a little underwhelming, so we understand why it may not be a first choice for some.
Concrete – Concrete and hard surfaces should be avoided when possible. These surfaces release the most shock that travels all the way up to your joints. Some individuals do prefer concrete as concrete is usually flat and can reduce the chances of slipping and spraining an ankle. Although, the disadvantages tend to overpower the advantages.
Overtraining can be detrimental to the body and your joints. This can be a major influence in what is causing inflammation and swelling on your knees. We do not recommend you increase the exercise difficulty too quickly, rather you should progress at a steady pace to avoid risk of injury. Some ways to gradually increase difficulty include increasing speed, duration or the use of interval training. We also recommend taking adequate breaks to give enough time for your body to rest and recover.
Lack of Stretching and Warming Up for Running
Like with any other form of exercise, a warm up is very important. Warming up before going for a run has been proven to increase fluid in the joints which causes less friction, increase nervous system and muscle control, and increase blood flow to the needed muscles.
When warming up for running, you should consider three very important muscle groups: the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Special consideration should also be given to the glutes as well as the hip adductors as they help to stabilise the knees whilst running. You should prioritise giving these muscles adequate blood flow before beginning your run to reduce risk of knee injury.
We have included some exercises we recommend for you to perform before your run. These are great activation exercises. They are able improve function as well as increase blood flow to the gluteus muscles as well as the adductors and quadriceps group.
- Crab walks
- Wall sit
- Glute bridges
The function of the gastrocnemius (calf muscle) is to flex the knee. This is why it’s important to warm up the calves for knee based injury prevention too.
Recommended products to reduce the risk of knee injury
Sports knee support - $139.95
The controlled compression of the sports knee support improves the knee’s ability to maintain maximum movement stability during sporting activities.
At the same time, the durable sports knee support massages the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and the connective tissue, which in turn has a positive impact on the stability and movement of joints.
Sports knee strap - $49.95
The sports knee strap targets the area around the patella tendon with four special anatomical pads to stimulate the muscles, this knee strap helps to isolate and stabilise the tendon in active movement, helping to relive pain while running, jumping and walking.
Sports compression knee support - $64.95
The compression of the sports compression knee support increases the supply of oxygen to the working muscles of the knee. This increased oxygen supply helps to improve muscle endurance and decrease muscle fatigue after exercise. The controlled compression improves the knee’s ability to maintain maximum movement stability during sporting activities.
Recommended products to treat knee injury
GenuTrain Knee Brace - $ 154.95
Ideal for milder strains and aches, Runner's Knee, Jumper's Knee and Osgood Schlatters. The brace provides mild pain relief and stability to the knee joint. It incorporates a specialized gel pad that has integrated massage points which help relieve pain in the patella tendon and meniscus. It has a light and more comfortable weave that allows for all day wear and is perfect for both day-to-day activities and for exercise.
GenuPoint Knee Strap - $69.95
Whether the pain stems from tendinitis caused by the sport you play, runner’s knee after a good sprint or marathon, or just a dull ache from general overuse, the GenuPoint knee strap is perfect for targeting and relieving that pain. With an adjustable anatomical strap for comfort and no-slip fit, the GenuPoint also has a special gel pad with four massage points that actively stimulate the patella tendon to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and stabilise the knee cap.
GenuTrain P3 Knee Brace - $239.95
Ideal for patellar instability and pain, moderate to severe patellofemoral pain and mild instability. The GenuTrain P3 Knee Brace is perfect for people who want to still give their all physically without patella issues and pain holding them back. With a firm medical compression that maximises muscle output and minimises fatigue.
GenuTrain S Knee Brace - $289.95
Ideal for moderate meniscus and arthritis issues, mild ACL and PCL injuries. Whether it's restoring stability after a knee injury, relieving arthritic pain or preventing hyperextension, the GenuTrain S Hinged Knee Brace is the perfect knee support for you. The GenuTrain S uses a breathable compression weave to promote blood-flow and speed up healing, while the anatomic hinges and adjustable straps allow for completely controlled stability in any activity.
If you are still unsure on selecting the right product for your needs, send us a message on Live Chat or book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call.
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