Running continues to be one of the UK's most popular sports and for good reason. It’s a simple, accessible and time efficient form of exercise that suits the modern way of life. Part of the appeal is that enthusiasts only need to find the few minutes it takes to lace up and get out, in order to benefit from the fantastic fat-burning, endorphin releasing and posture challenging workout that running offers!
Is running BAD for your knees?
Clients with running related injuries have been flooding in to the clinic since the turn of the year and the majority are complaining of knee pain. Most will present with soreness to the outside of the knee, a Dr. Google self diagnosis of IT-band syndrome and the question 'Is running bad for my knees?'
So lets cut to the chase and answer the question....NO!! Running is NOT bad for your knees.
And before you ask....that includes on the road, on the trails, on the beach, on the treadmill and anywhere else you feel like challenging your footfall.
So why do your knees hurt during or after running?
If, as a result of running you are experiencing, or have a history of, a mechanical type issue with your knees such as, but not limiting:
- IT-band syndrome (pain on the outside of the knee);
- Patellofemoral dysfunction (knee cap pain);
- Wear and tear (cartilage irritation) / arthritic pain or;
- Patella tendon tendinopathy;
You and your knees are the victim of something else in your body not working properly for you. Your knee pain is the result of poor mechanics.
How do I prevent knee pain from running?
Now unfortunately, there isn't a magic corrective exercise to relieve all your symptoms as everyone is different in presentation. It could well be from a recent or historic physical trauma ANYWHERE in the body. This then forces your brain to create a different movement strategy to allow you to achieve running again...which unfortunately may not favour your knees.
However, for the majority of clients identifying the root cause of the knee pain and preventing it from reoccurring is quite simple. It is directly related to their posture.
In a nut shell....The posture you are in the MOST of the time will cause MOST of your problems!
Poor posture = Poor running
This is the real crux of the matter and often the answer to the majority of mechanical problems experienced in the body. For the large majority of you, the posture you are in the most is sitting at a desk for several hours a day and possibly from a very early age. The average for desk based workers is 40 hours a week without considering the commute and sitting habits at home. Consider this common behaviour cycle:
- You wake up and SIT on the edge of your bed;
- You SIT to have your breakfast;
- You SIT to commute to work;
- You SITat work;
- You SIT to have your lunch;
- You SIT to work some more;
- You SITto commute home;
- You SITto have your dinner and then;
- You SIT to relax from all the SITTING you’ve done!
So, when you choose to start running again and squeeze it in to a 'strong sitting cycle’ you really shouldn’t be surprised to discover that your body reacts badly to it! Your knees are likely to hurt because they weren’t designed to be flexed all day in a sitting posture!
The muscle tissue around the knees, connecting to the rest of your body, needs to be stimulated, stretched and moved. This just doesn’t happen when you sit. And if the knees continue to be uncomfortable when you run or afterwards, you’re either not correcting the right area or you’re not correcting it enough.
Am I just not supposed to run?
Don’t start thinking that you weren’t born to run. That’s absolute rubbish! Just like the world bestselling book ‘Born to Run’ suggests:
'Running isn’t bad for you, the way that you run is’!
For most of you, the solution to easing your knee pain lies in counter balancing the posture you are in most of the time. By investing in 10 - 15 minutes a day doing the FREE posture correcting exercises available with, and specifically designed to work in conjunction with the Posture Corrector Pack, your body will learn to correct your poor posture and ease you into a good running posture.
This will naturally reduce the stress on your knees and alleviate the pain.
You are designed to move and Born to Run! Invest a small amount of time into improving your posture each day now to help keep the spring in your step for years to come!