One of the most common injuries for runners and athletes are knee injuries. As a trainer/athlete I have dealt with of all kinds of knee problems. If you don't deal with the pain immediately, you can face long term injury and trust me, you will hate being non-active. Below is a quick list of why you might have knee pain.
- Not actively stretching before a workout or static stretching after a workout.
- Moving from an "easy" to a "challenging" workout in a short amount of time.
- Improper body alignment when working out.
Our knees are made of bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons which all work together to keep the knee in place. Having said that, our leg muscles also play a large part in supporting our knees as well. For instance, your quads, hip adductors and flexors including the IT Band all support the tendons and ligaments that hold our knees together. If you are not properly stretching these muscles and they become "tight" knee injuries will occur.
Specific reasons why good runners/athletes obtain knee injuries!
- Increasing mileage (or a workout) drastically in a short period or time.
- Not wearing the proper shoes for your sport can be a huge factor in the alignment of your body.
- Lack of proper strength training OR no strength/cross training at all.
- If you are running the same route everyday and pounding the same surface, this may cause injury as well.
- Ignoring injuries and running through the pain only makes the injury worse. You know who you are. . . I've been guilty of this one. Contact your doctor or sports therapist, listen to them and get some rest.
What do you do to prevent knee injuries?
- Increase your mileage steadily by 10%-12% each week and do not schedule a speed workout until your body is ready.
- Make sure you schedule rest days and cross train.
- When adding strength training to your workout, talk to your personal trainer and let them show you how to properly perform each exercise and put together a workout that will work for you specific needs.
I like to always suggest before starting a new workout regiment (especially each year) go and see your doctor for a regular checkup. Let them know about upcoming workouts and ask as many questions as you want when it comes to your health!