Feeling Knee Pain? 5 Simple Exercises You Need To Do
Most people at some point or another have experienced knee pain while running. This can be quite frustrating, especially when time off and ibuprofen are only a temporary fix. Knee pain can be caused by many factors and can be difficult to diagnose. In most cases, knee pain for runners is termed runner’s knee. This diagnosis covers a broad spectrum of ailments regarding pain in the patella (kneecap).
Souza and Powers found that hip dysfunction is linked to patellofemoral pain. In the study, females with less hip strength and glute recruitment were the ones prevalent with knee pain. In other words, not being able to properly engage your hip muscles may lead to knee pain.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
Muscular Imbalance – e.g. Many folks have trouble activating and properly using their gluteus or butt muscles. This inability to use the large muscles causes the body to compensate and look for other ways to do their job. This in turn, causes the knees to become overly stressed as unintended muscle groups do the job of the glutes.
Overuse (repeated microtrauma) – Running is a repeated microtrauma (small injuries to the body). If an individual has poor running mechanics (e.g. faulty foot strike), then repeatedly repeating that range of motion is eventually going to cause some problems.
Poor Mobility – As a personal trainer I have seen many people who lack serious mobility in their ankles. If the foot cannot dorsiflex (bend towards the sky) with each step then the knee is going to bear the brunt of the force.
Joint Structure – Valgus knee collapse, collapsed arch. Both of these instances cause an individual to put added stress on the knee joint to due to changing the angle of the bones at the ankle, knee, and hip joints.
Adding the 5 exercises listed below to your warm up routine is a great idea, but some individuals should still get checked out by a specialist. If there is structural damage, it may be advisable to take extended time off, or in more serious cases, surgery.
5 Exercises to Alleviate Knee Pain
Glute Bridges – Another exercise that targets the glutes. Can be loaded to increase difficulty.
Hip abduction variations (Clams, Abductions, hip circles) – These 3 variations are great for targeting and strengthening the glute muscles
Hip flexor stretch – This stretch is great for individuals who work in a seated position all day. Muscles of the anterior portion of the body become shortened, this stretch can help relieve some of those tight muscles.
Knee Extensions – This exercise targets the quadricep muscles, all of which attach to the knee. Strengthening this muscle group can be a great way to stop knee pain.
Lateral Band Walks – Targeting similar muscles as the hip abduction variations, this band resisted exercise keeps constant tension on the glutes and gives great feedback so the performer knows if the glutes are firing properly.
The Take Away
If you suffer from knee pain due to a non-structural injury, these exercises are a great way to improve strength without adding heavy loading forces to the knee joint. This is advantageous for individuals like runners who experience stress at the knee joint with every stride. Knee pain comes in many different forms, lack of strength being just one of them. However, many runners are simply not strong enough to support the amount of force caused by running. next month’s article will address why runners should strength train.
Run, Move and Feel Better
Being able to put all of this information together for your own specific needs can be overwhelming and difficult. Many of my clients have previously faced problems with recurring injuries that have forced them to take time off from running. However, with an individualized approach and some dedication, many clients are often able to overcome what they thought were chronic injuries. If you are currently experiencing pain from running or have any issues in another area of fitness, I would love to help. Please feel free to email me at Will@wilmingtonperformancelab.com with any questions you may have.