Many people are concerned about developing knee pain as they start a running routine, increase their mileage to reach training or competition goals. Runners tend to find themselves in need of Physical Therapy frequently.
The annual injury rate for runners can be as high as 66%! Although running can be as easy as throwing on a pair of shoes and dashing out the door…….it requires more of our bodies than we often prepare ourselves for and ultimately pain and injuries surface sooner or later.
High level athletes can manage the demands of running because they incorporate focused strengthening, stretching and bodywork. As intensity, frequency, and duration of runs increase it becomes increasingly important to make sure you are adequately recovering and building upon a strong foundation of strength and flexibility. As runners increase their mileage their schedules leave little time for any other form of essential exercise, when they make this mistake unfortunately they end up stopped by pain and injury.
If you are currently not doing any leg strengthening exercises, there is no better time than the present, especially if you are just beginning or have training or milage goals in the future.
Strengthening exercises that focus on your; core, glutes, quads and hamstrings are critical. I tend to prefer functional exercises that simulate the movements you want to perform(if you can tolerate them painfree).
(*Tips: Wear shoes that have good arch support when performing the squats will decrease the collapse of the arches of your feet and knees falling inward. Using a mirror to check your form can be helpful. I am a big advocate of using visual, tactile and verbal cues to ensure precision of movement to maximize benefit.)
2. Single leg squat
3. Chicken wings
*(EVERYONE needs to DO some variation of hip stabilizing exercises- daily. I don’t miss a day in order to keep me healthy, running, strengthening and pain & injury free!)
Stretching: Flexibility of the hip flexors, quads, glutes, hamstring and calves will also increase your ability to stay pain and injury free.
They key to theses exercises if FORM and QUALITY over repetition. If you are short on time rushing through them will yield no benefit. I cannot stress enough the importance of the strength of your; core, glutes, hip stabilizers, quads and hamstrings to keep you safely running, and in all other areas of your daily life.
BONUS! These exercises will help keep your back healthy too!
Have any unanswered questions or want help to ensure you can stay pain and injury free as you work toward your running goals? Please give us a call here to request a FREE phone consultation with our Specialist Physical Therapist, or call us here, (805) 941-0125.
Is knee pain keeping you from doing the things you love? We also have a special Tips Sheet: "Top 10 Tips to Prevent Running Injuries" that is currently FREE that will provide you with more ways to ease knee pain right now.(Bonus: Video of Best Stretch to do before & after Runs.....)
At Perseverance Movement Specialists & Pilates we help people aged 40+ stay fit, active and overcome mobility loss to be able to live the life they love without fear, limitation and depending on painkillers or procedures.
Yvonne A. Castillo, MSPT, DPT, CPT