If you've ever suffered from knee pain, you know it puts a damper on just about everything…but especially running. "Runner's knee" means it's time for a little rest. But how can you recover as smoothly as possible? And maybe even prevent this from happening again?
Don't run on it!
Again, I'm pretty sure it goes without saying that if you're suffering from runner's knee, you should rest! But it is also true that sometimes it's dangerous to run on a painful knee…and sometimes it's not as dangerous, depending on what the underlying condition is.
Runner's knee is also called "patellofemoral pain syndrome" — it's a specific type of knee issue. This is more common in women, because our hips are wider, and so they form a less favorable angle to the knee.
Runner’s knee is usually a dull pain. But it can lead to damaged cartilage under your kneecap, which is a serious condition if it gets to that point!
And, your problem may not be runner's knee, but instead with your IT band. This band is tissue that goes from your hip to your knee, and can easily become painful from overuse.
You can try just being a lot EASIER on yourself when you run, and using foam rolling and hip stretches to alleviate your knee pain. But, if you find that your knee pain is still getting worse, and these stretches and rolling aren't helping much, then please stop running completely for now!
Also, if your knee pain is ever sharper and more STABBING than dull…or you ever feel your knee buckling…stop running now! You could be tearing ligaments, bands, or the meniscus, and you need to head to a doctor to see what's going on. Even a duller pain like runner's knee is nothing to take lightly, since it can escalate into a ligament tear.
What do I do about the pain?
There are a few things you can do to try and alleviate your runner's knee…
- Resting, which includes resting from other exercise too ( squats and lunges are pretty hard on the knees!).
- Ice your knee for a half hour every few hours for a few days. I don't recommend icing for longer periods of time. But it will definitely stop pain and inflammation, and elevating your leg will too!
- Wrap your knee in bandages or a support sleeve.
- Check out these stretches for taking pressure off the knee!
- Consider where the UNDERLYING problem comes from…Is it possible it comes from…your shoes? Absolutely! If you're not wearing the right running shoes, or if your flat feet aren't being given the right arch supports, that could be the cause of your knee pain. I am a big fan of orthotics!
And I am also well aware that running isn't for everyone! Many people enjoy a class environment, where they can do high-intensity, low-impact training, with friendly faces and fun music! And it’s a great way to avoid the whole issue of runner’s knee…
If this sounds like something that would appeal to you, I have been teaching pilates yoga for over 30 years. I'm proud to lead programs that not only help others, but allow them to have FUN with fitness, too.