How To Prevent Knee Pain

Injury-prevention and recovery advice from our resident sports therapist Lawrence Knott

exercises for knee pain running

Feeling weak at the knees? Poor hip mobility and weak glute muscles could be the answer.

Runner’s knee is a common issue for we runners. It can be caused by a multitude of problems but one of the most common is anterior (front) hip tilt.

This can mean a few things. It might mean you overpronate when running. You could also have been born with a weakness in this area; either way, if your hip falls away when running it can cause certain parts of the leg to become tighter than others. This can result in hip pain, muscle strains and, most commonly, the notorious runner’s knee.

With an anterior hip tilt, the hip flexors (the muscles that help lift your leg) become incredibly tight; the adductors (the muscles that bring your legs together) will also become shortened. This becomes more of a problem when you run as opposed when walking because of the increased force we generate through the running action.

Not only will the anterior (front) of the hip become tight, we will also see that the gluteal muscles (the big ones in your bottom) are much weaker. This will make your hips unstable when standing on one leg, or during the mid-stance of the running gait.

You can test this for yourself by standing on the top of step and doing a single leg dip – if your hip drops to allow you to do this movement, then you have a weakness in your gluteus and tightness in your hip flexors.

I have two ‘go to’ exercises to firstly gain more mobility of the anterior hip space and, secondly, to gain hip stability.

However this is not a quick fix – a lot of work will be required to help prevent these issues from starting or reoccurring.

Exercises to prevent knee pain

  1. Hip flexor stretch
    Using a gym ball or sofa, move into the lunge position with your back foot up. Push your hip forward and lift your arms above your head. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor of the back leg. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat left and right.
  2. Glute bridge
    Lying on your back, hold on to your hips with your hands, knees bent, shoulder-width apart. Lift your hips up into a straight position and hold for 30 seconds. This will help strengthen your glutes and help prevent that recurring runner’s knee pain.

Lawrence runs Knott Kinetics, email [email protected]

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