Running is an easy and relatively low-cost exercise. Therefore, most people start with recreational running as a mean to start an active lifestyle.

However, running comes with its risk of injuries, knee pain being the most common injury among runners.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent knee pain from running so you can run your miles with smiles!

⦁ Soften the knees
A stiff leg when landing your foot on the ground will lead to increased vertical ground reaction force, which is the impact on the body reflected by the ground when our foot hits the ground.

A higher vertical ground reaction force is associated with patellofemoral pain and plantar fasciitis in runners. A stiff leg is characterised as having the knee too straight when the foot hit the ground.

Hence, trying to soften the legs and have the knees a little bent when landing can reduce the vertical ground reaction force, leading to lower risk of getting a knee pain from running.

⦁ Avoid overstriding
It has been found that running injuries most often happen in runners who overstride, meaning they step too far forward when running.

When overstriding, runners tend to land with the knees extended and as mentioned in the point above, this will lead to higher impact on the knees. A common cue used by coaches and physiotherapists to avoid overstriding is making sure that your foot is right below your hip when you land the foot on the ground.

In the photo above, you can see an example of landing on an extended knee and overstriding in the man on the right

⦁ Increase your cadence
A study has shown that increasing your running cadence by just 10% is sufficient to significantly reduce the impact on your knees.

A perfect running cadence is non-existent as it is subjected to different individuals, but most coaches would suggest keeping your cadence at 165-195 steps per minute for a 5km run. An easy cue to increase your running cadence is by reducing the bouncing motion in your run.

As you push yourself off the ground, try to direct the force backwards (which will drive you forward) instead of downwards (which will drive you upwards), and you will find yourself propelling a little faster.

⦁ Lean forward
Studies have shown that running with a more upright posture increases the load on your quadriceps and decreases the load on the glutes (buttocks) muscles. This leads to the quadriceps being overactive, eventually causing pain in the knees.

A slight forward lean is able to help you generate more force from the glutes which decreases the load on the quadriceps and the reduces the impact on the knees.

If you are suffering from knee pain or want to prevent it from running, feel free to make appointment with one of our highly experienced Physiotherapists today!

Prepared by Chen Wei Vvy
Physiotherapist of Your Physio Subang Jaya

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