Health and Fitness

Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Run?

You should be pounding along the road, heart pumping, with a big smile on your face. Instead, you’re limping along, knees throbbing, as you inch your way back home.

As geriatric seniors speed past you with their walking frames, you ask yourself, “why do my knees hurt when I run”.

The good news is, you’re not alone. Runners often suffer from knee pain, but don’t despair, it is treatable!

Below, we’ll explain some of the common causes of knee pain, and their treatments, so that you can get back in your running shoes and resume exercising, pain-free.

Runner’s Knee

If you experience pain around or behind your kneecap after running downhill, traversing stairs, or sitting for extended periods of time, you may suffer from runner’s knee.

Runner’s knee is caused by the patella moving out of alignment, irritating the cartilage underneath. This can be triggered by tight hamstrings, weak thigh muscles, overuse, or poor foot support.

To prevent runner’s knee, perform thorough stretching and strengthening exercises. Ensure that you wear proper running shoes that support your specific foot type. Replace your shoes every 300 -500 miles.

To treat runner’s knee, wear a compression wrap, and elevating your leg when resting. Apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and outer knee pain.

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar Tendinitis, or jumper’s knee, is a common overuse injury. It is categorized by pain at the bottom of your kneecap, where your knee meets your shin.

Pain is caused when your patellar tendon becomes strained or inflamed due to excessive use. Initially, this weakens the tendon, but repeated stress can cause the tendon to tear.

Unfortunately for avid runners, the fastest way to treat this condition is to stop exercising until your tendon has healed. Treat the pain with an ice pack and anti-inflammatory medicines.

ITBS – Iliotibial Band Syndrome

ITB problems are a common cause of knee pain when running. The Iliotibial band runs from your hip down to the outside of your knee. When this IT band gets tight, it rubs on the knee bone, causing irritation and inflammation.

Much like Patellar Tendinitis, ITB issues are commonly caused by overtraining. Running on repetitive, banked surfaces, or worn-out running shoes may also trigger ITB.

As with any overworked body part, rest is the best medicine. If ITB strains become a recurring problem, you may want to visit a physical therapist to rule out muscle weakness or alignment issues.

To prevent ITB, make sure to vary your workouts to reduce repetitive movements. Strengthen your hips, glutes, and core muscles to increase stability and support.

Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is two pieces of cartilage that distribute stress on your knee by acting as shock absorbers.

A bad fall, knee twist, or even something as mundane as a sudden change in direction, can all lead to a torn meniscus. You will likely feel a popping sensation as the meniscus tears, followed by pain and inflammation of the knee.

Some meniscus tears are mild. These can be treated with rest, ice packs, and anti-inflammatories.

If the tear is more serious, you may have to have surgery to repair or remove the meniscus. Your doctor will be able to confirm the extent of the damage, and necessary treatment, with an MRI scan.

“Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Run” Is a Question You’ll Never Have to Ask Again.

Diagnosing the underlying problem behind your pain is the first step towards pain-free funning.

Using the helpful information above, you can answer the question “why do my knees hurt when I run”.

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