Runner’s knee is one of the most common sports injuries because it’s not really sport-specific. Athletes in most sports are at risk of developing runner’s knee. It can even affect swimmers (who aren’t actually running in their sport).
In general, runner’s knee is a condition where the ligament that attaches the kneecap to the shin gets irritated or the area just below the kneecap gets irritated.
Since it’s likely you or a friend will probably deal with runner’s knee in your athletic career, let’s look at how you can prevent and treat it.
1. Replace your shoes & insoles regularly
Runner’s knee is frequently caused by repeated blows from running on hard surfaces. Replacing your shoes and insoles will allow them to take a lot of the stress off of your knees.
2. Be picky about where you train
This is very similar to the first point, but constantly training on pavement may be at least partially responsible for your runner’s knee. Switching up your training to utilizing tracks, grass, turf, or even running in a pool will help to alleviate some of that stress.
3. Treat the swelling
It’s important to get the swelling down as quickly as possible. Treating with an anti-inflammatory and icing after exercise will help to get your swelling under control.
4. Improve circulation
We always hear about RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), but it’s important to get circulation moving as soon as possible after an injury. While RICE is useful, don’t overuse it. When your swelling goes down, it’s time to start focusing on improving circulation so your body can begin to heal itself.
5. Focus on the quads
Another main reason for runner’s knee may be that your quads are not strong enough to handle what you’re demanding of them. Focusing your training on your quadriceps will help to correct this problem and prevent it in the future.
6. Fix your form
You know exactly how you’re running, right? Well, maybe not. Take the time to have a friend, coach or teammate video you running. Poor running form can bring on this condition. There may be something in your form that is causing your problems. Work to correct any form issues and you may resolve or prevent any further issues.
7. Gradual distance and incline increases
If you’re a distance runner or are training with longer and longer distances, keep mileage increases to less than 10 percent per week. You should also work in hill work increases fairly small too. Working in incline work will help to strengthen the area and your quadriceps.
While runner’s knee is very common it can be painful and frustrating if you don’t take the proper steps to treat it and prevent it from happening again. Be smart about your training and stay on the field! We also recommend looking into our injury treatment kits if your injury persists and our recovery series for everyday muscle recovery.
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