5 Exercises for Runners’ Knee Pain and How to Prevent Common Knee Injuries
When you have knee pain caused by running, rest, ice, and compression can offer temporary relief. However, performing exercises for runners’ knee pain can strengthen the muscles supporting the knee joint. This can prevent future injury and enable the knees to efficiently serve as the body’s natural shock absorbers. The following exercises for runners’ knee pain can familiarize you with how to prevent knee pain while running.
1. Leg Raise
This exercise strengthens the four muscles between the knee and the hip, which comprise the quadriceps. Stabilizing this muscle group can ensure pain-free leg extensions and hip flexes while running and also prevent injuries such as Runner’s Knee.
On a flat surface, lie on your back with one leg bent and the other leg extended at a slight elevation from the ground. Raise the extended leg one foot above the ground, keeping the upper body relaxed and the back flat. Maintain this position for 3-5 seconds and then slowly lower your leg to the floor. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
2. Calf Stretch
This exercise stretches the calf muscles behind the lower leg and the Achilles tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Loosening these muscles and increasing their flexion can alleviate lower leg stiffness while running and prevent injuries such as Achilles Tendinitis.
Stand at arms’ length from a wall. With your left leg, step forward, keeping the right foot back and parallel to the left foot. Bend your left knee until you feel tension in the right leg. Maintain this pose for 15-30 seconds, keeping the right heel flat. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
3. Wall Sit
This exercise conditions the quadriceps, calves, back, and trunk muscles. Strengthening these muscles can allow you to run up inclines while stabilizing the knees, improving your lower back health, and avoiding injuries such as quadriceps tendon tears, accompanied by knee swelling.
Stand against a wall, aligning your head, back, and hips so that they are flat against the wall. Step two feet in front of the wall with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall into a seated posture. Maintain this position for 5-10 seconds, keeping the abdomen taut. Stand up and repeat.
4. Hamstring Stretch
This exercise loosens the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh. Alleviating tension in these muscles enables smooth knee bends while running and reduces hamstring muscle imbalance and fatigue. This stretch can also prevent hamstring muscle injuries such as pulls or tears that can cause knee swelling.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands clasped behind your back. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your legs straight, your chin tucked in, and your hands over your head. Maintain this pose for 30 seconds before standing up.
5. Side Lunge
This lateral exercise conditions not only the muscles that surround your knee joint but the muscles in the thighs, hips, and buttocks. Strengthening these muscles can help reduce lower back pain, increase hip flexion, and improve balance while running. This exercise can also prevent injuries such as Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
With your feet under your hips, side-step with your right foot and touch your right foot with your left fingers. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Do not extend your right knee beyond your right toe. Return to a standing pose. Repeat by lunging to the left.
Consult Manhattan Orthopedic Care to learn more about how to prevent knee pain while running.