Causes of knee pain when running and recommended exercises

Knee discomfort is very common when we go jogging. In this post, we present the causes and recommended exercises to avoid knee pain when running.

Last update: 18 January, 2022

Going for a jog is one of the most recommended exercises for keep fit and improve health. In addition, it is an activity available to everyone, since it requires basic equipment and we can do it in the place we choose. However, we must be watch out for knee pain when runningespecially if we are beginners.

knee pain It is one of the most common annoyances and it can manifest itself for various reasons, such as, for example, bodily, due to poor equipment or the chosen terrain. In any case, the fact of doing the activity will not necessarily cause discomfort, but it is good to take into account some tips to go out run healthy and minimize risks.

Causes of knee pain when running

Lack of preparation or a poor choice of road are two causes of knee pain when running.

Running itself does not cause injuries, but different factors can cause discomfort when we exercise. As usual, Caused by misalignment of the patella with the femur when we perform the movement of that joint.

One study showed that, in the case of athletes, most injuries occur in the lower extremities and more than half of them occur in the knee joint. Let’s see what are the main causes of knee pain when running:

weak muscles

It is important work the muscles in the legs to support the demand to which we are going to submit. It is not only about the intensity of the training, but also about the changes that the surface of the place presents and the directions that we are going to take. All this can have negative repercussions.

If we’re not strong enough our joints can be affected and cause knee pain. Stretching exercises are also important. Finally, we must take into account our possibilities and progress little by little, since the overexertion also increases the risk of injury.

Poor running technique

If we don’t run the right way, with the right posture, we may put more pressure on certain joints. This, in the long run, can cause knee pain. Here are some tips to improve running technique:

  • Keep the body upright.
  • Avoid leaning your torso forward.
  • Get your feet up.
  • Keep your knees from going in.
  • Accompany the strides with arm movements.

Overweight and knee pain when running

If we suffer from obesity, the risk of injury increases, since increased load on the knees, ankles, and hips. However, jogging is also a good option to burn calories and lose weight.

In this case, it is important perform a medical check-up to determine if we are in a position to carry out the exercise. It is recommended opt for soft ground and start with light workouts. Likewise, it is important to carry out a healthy diet to complement the activity.

Inappropriate footwear

Running shoes are essential to avoid injuries when running. Footwear It must be comfortable, well adjusted to our foot and have the necessary cushioning.. We must also try to change it when we notice that it has some wear.

Shoes that do not fit the needs to perform the activity increase the risk of knee pain and even pain in other parts of the body, such as the hips.

terrain type

The surface also plays an important role. Keep in mind that the land is not usually flat and, in most cases, not even. This means that the load falls more on one leg than the other, which can cause pain. It is recommended that when repeating the circuit we do it in reverse to better distribute the loads on each leg.



Exercises to avoid knee pain when running

Stretching is essential before and after running.

To strengthen and avoid injuries, the exercises should target the area of ​​the muscles that control the movements of the patella, a key bone when bending and straightening the leg; and the femur, the thigh bone that connects the knee and hip joints.

In general, it is important strengthen the quadriceps and glutes. Also, we must take into account the middle and lumbar area. Here are some recommended exercises to avoid knee pain when running:

  • Quadriceps extension: It can be done on a machine in the gym. It is about extending the legs and bending the knees to complete a movement in which the quadriceps will be the ones that carry the weight. The back should always be straight and the legs should not be completely stretched out. One option to work the quadriceps at home is to do the classic squats.
  • One leg squats: We must use one foot as support and perform a knee flexion with the hip down. Body posture should be at 90 degrees. The hands can be placed on the waist to achieve greater balance. It is good to practice the technique before carrying out the exercise since, at the beginning, it is not so easy!
  • hip extension: It is done with an elastic band. We stand in front of a pole, we tie one end of the band and we fasten one foot to the other side. The exercise consists of bringing the tied leg back and moving it as far as possible by extending the hip. After completing the series, it is repeated with the other leg. We must remember that the torso must remain straight and we can help ourselves by holding on to the post with both hands.
  • Hip abduction: The starting position is as in extension. Straight body, one leg for support and the other tied to the elastic band. In this case, the movement of the leg will be to the side. We will try to raise the leg as much as possible and return it with a continuous but controlled movement. Once we complete the reps, we switch legs.
  • Hip raise: It is done lying on your back. We must keep the arms stretched to the side of the body. One leg is stretched in a straight line with the torso and the other should be flexed, with the foot well placed on the ground to perform a flexion movement and extend the hip upwards. When we go down, we must prevent the hip from touching the ground.
  • Close and open knees: Here we will also do the activity lying face up. An elastic band is placed around the knees, the legs are bent and the feet should be well supported on the ground. You have to raise your hips and, in that position, start with opening and closing your knees until you complete a series.


Get out of the house and get moving!

Going for a run has multiple benefits and, over time, will help us feel better and rest better. But, to enjoy it and get the most out of it, we must do it the right way, pay attention to our body, use the right shoes and not underestimate the terrain or our possibilities.

Also, it is a good option to use some accessories such as foot bandages, insoles or knee pads. In case of pain, we have to abandon the activity and consult a doctor. Now yes, to leave the house and get moving!

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