One of the most common complaints of regular runners, regardless of age or physical condition, is knee pain. The daily pounding that a runners’ knees take can make this tender joint susceptible to wear and tear and even injury. Here are five things you can do to keep your knees healthy and pain-free:
1. Strengthen your glutes and quads
You need a strong core and quads to keep your foot from turning inwards when you run, a primary cause of runner’s knee, the irritation of the cartilage under your kneecap. So think about adding weights to your workout schedule or alternate your running with biking (which is great for the quads).
2. Fight arthritis in the knees by running more
For many years, running was thought to worsen arthritic knees or even cause arthritis, but recent studies have found just the opposite. Running seems to work on knees (and other bones and joints) like other weight-bearing exercises, strengthening bones and stimulating cartilage to repair any damage.
3. Get the right shoes
When you run, your knees are supporting two to three times your body weight as they pound into the ground step by step. To help them absorb the shock, look for well-cushioned running shoes with firm arches to keep your feet from falling in and straining your knees.
4. Get new shoes
Even the best fitting, best-designed running shoes wear down after about 300 miles of training. Make sure you regularly replace your running shoes for best results.
Remember to take days off at least once or twice a week to allow your muscles time to heal. Don’t push too hard too soon, starting your training at a reasonable pace and mileage and increasing no more than 10 percent a week. And listen to your body, especially your knees, and don’t try to run through severe or persistent pain.
Running is one of the best forms of exercise for the elite athlete, the health nut, or anyone just looking to shed a few pounds or get in better shape. Knee pain is common in runners, but these steps should keep your knees from keeping you from your runs.
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