Do you like to run a lot? You won’t need telling how much strain it puts on on your knees. In fact, research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reckons that up to fifty percent of running injuries relate to the knees. And the most common running injury of all? Yep, you guessed it. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Actually, you said runner’s knee didn’t you?
So what’s behind runner’s knee?
If you’ve ever felt a dull pain and tenderness behind your kneecap after running, you’re already familiar with the condition. As for the causes, it could be anything from a tightness in the hamstrings, quadriceps and iliotibial band to a lack of strength in the hamstring, quadriceps and hips. Like most other running injuries, if one part of you isn’t up to the job in can have an impact on connected areas. So when there’s a lack of flexibility or strength at the top of the kinetic chain, you’ll feel it lower down at your knees.
What you can do about it
Don’t let it put you off your morning run. You can do plenty of things to avoid or recover from runner’s knee – all with a focus on building up the strength, flexibility and mobility you need in your hips. In fact, if you perform these seven simple exercise two to three times a week, you could start feeling a difference in just three weeks – so stick with it.
Exercise 1: Fire Hydrant
First off, get down and support your weight with your knees and hands on the floor. Lift your right knee to the side and keep it flexed at 90 degrees before returning to the original position, then do the same with your left.15 reps each side
Exercise 2: Side leg lifts
Lie down on your right side, legs stacked on top of each other, head resting on top of your right arm and left hand on your hip or on the ground for balance. Lift your left (top) leg straight up as far as you can and lower back down. 10 reps each side
Exercise 3: Bird dog
Get back on all fours. Raise your right hand and left knee simultaneously then extend them away from your body. Hold for 2 seconds before returning to the starting position. 10 reps each side
Exercise 4: Hip abduction
Not stealing someone else’s hips, that’d be cheating. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart next to a chair on your left. Loop a resistance band around the chair and your right ankle. Keep your leg straight and raise it sideways as far away from the chair as you can. Return to the original position. 10 reps each side
Exercise 5: Clamshell
Lie on your right side with your knees bent on top of each other and your right arm supporting your head. Keep your feet together and lift up your left knee, hold, return. 15 reps each side
Exercise 6: Hip-flexor stretch
This isn’t a trendy flexor stretch but a flexor stretch for your hips. Rest your right knee on the ground with your left foot in front of your body. Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle and slowly push your hips forward towards it. You should feel the stretch at the front of your hip. Hold for 20 seconds, return to starting position. 5 reps each side
Exercise 7: Low lunge
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your left leg, bending at the knee into a low-lunge with your right leg extended straight behind you. Lean down and put your fingertips on the floor on either side of your left foot. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to standing position. 3 reps each side
When it comes to flexibility, nothing beats E²
Looking for a place to perform your stretches? Or is it raining outside and you prefer a treadmill to a muddy track? Wherever you are, whatever time you’re free, the E² app gives you access to some of London’s leading premium gym floors without the strain of contracts or memberships.