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How to Treat and Prevent Knee Injuries from Running

Running in a sport over a favorite pastime for millions of people all over the world. It is a fun, inexpensive exercise option, and you can go for a run almost anywhere. However, running puts extra stress on the runner’s knees and legs, and this can result in a debilitating injury. This article will discuss common injuries runners face, as well as how to treat and prevent them from happening.

Why do Runners Suffer these Knee Problems?

According to Runners Connect, as many as 79 percent of runners will face an injury in the next year. The injuries can be small things from minor pulled muscles and general aches and pains to full blown injuries like Patellofemoral pain syndrome or Runner’s Knee. The main reason why runners suffer from these injuries is that they put so much extra stress on their joints, and this combined with weak or stretched muscles is a recipe for disaster. The types of surfaces you run on, as well and any problems with your gait can throw you off enough to cause an injury if they’re not taken care of properly.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee is one of the most common injury an athlete will suffer from. They problem is due by the cartridge on the underside of your kneecap becoming irritated or inflamed. Runners will usually experience a flare-up after long runs or after an extended period of going down hills or stairs. People who have weak hips, quads, and glutes are at a higher risk.

What are the Treatment Options?

This problem can be treated by taking a few days to slow your running routine down. A few runners also reported running uphill, or on a treadmill set at an angle helped relieve the pain. You want to focus on strengthening your gluteal muscles as these control your hip movement, and if they’re weak, your knees will have a tendency to turn inward. Bicycling, elliptical training, and swimming can also strengthen your hips, quads, and gluteal muscles.

How do You Prevent it From Happening? Any runner can reduce the risk of this problem by shortening their stride length, and make sure to land with a slightly bent knee. This can take as much as 30 percent stress off the joint. You should also work on strengthing the muscles that support the knee, and physical therapy is a viable option to help as well.

Archilles Tendonitis Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Your Achilles tendon is a muscle that connects your two calf muscles to the backside of your heel. If this muscle is too stressed or overworked, it will tighten and get irritated. According to the Mayo Clinic, running in worn out shoes can make this condition worse, as well as factors like increased training, and weak calf muscles as well.

What are the Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis?

If you notice a tightness or burning sensation around your tendon area, stop running for a few day. If you continue to run and try to push through it, you can develop a more severe case, and it could take upwards of six months to heal properly. You should apply ice at least once a day while the tendon is swelled.

How do You Prevent Achilles Tendonitis?

Any runner should also avoid any aggressive stretching of your calf muscle, and during a flare-up avoid high heels or flip flops because they tend to aggravate the condition. You should also begin doing heel drops daily to help strengthen your calf muscles and buy running shoes with a good support system.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Your Iliotibial band is found on the outside of your thigh and runs from your knee up to your hip. As you’re running, your knee will flex and extend, and this can cause the Iliotibial band to become irritated from rubbing on your femur. If you’re a runner with weak hips and gluteal muscles, you will be more susceptible to this issue. Runners who favor one side over the other while running may also experience this.

What are the Available Treatment Options?

When you first notice the dull throbbing sensation, take a few days off from running, or at least lighten your running time. If you don’t do this, it could develop into a full blown flare-up and become a major issue. Going to physical therapy to strengthen your hip muscles will help prevent this matter from continually happening.

How do you Prevent this from Happening?

A runner can prevent this issue from happening by switching up the direction they run if they’re running on a track. You should try to run on flat surfaces and shorten your stride. You may also prevent this from happening by working on your flexibility.

Dislocated Knee Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

A dislocated knee is one of the most severe injuries a runner can face. When a runner’s knee dislocates, the femur becomes detached from the tibia, and the ligaments are damaged 100 percent of the time, every time this occurs. A knee dislocated is usually the result of trauma, or severely weak muscles and a combination of twisting you knee just right.

What are the Treatment Options?

A dislocated knee almost always requires surgery to correct. Once you have the surgery, this is usually followed up by month or physical therapy, and it’s not uncommon for you to be down for six months to a year. If you’re a professional athlete, this can signal the end of your career.

How can You Prevent a Dislocated Knee?

To avoid this traumatic injury from happening, any runner should work to strengthen their thighs, glutes, hips, and hamstrings. Including squats to strengthen your thigh muscles, hamstring curls to strengthen your hamstrings, and using an exercise ball to strengthen your hips will go a long way to prevent this.

Preventative Braces and Knee Sleeves

It is not uncommon for runners to wear compression knee sleeves or braces to avoid the more traumatic injuries. A compression sleeve will also work to improve your circulation and hold everything in place. According to Aeroflow Healthcare, there are four main types of knee braces:

  • Rehabilitative. This brace limits movement on anyone who is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Prophylactic. This brace helps prevent injury during contact sports.
  • Functional. This brace is worn by people who have already had an injury.
  • Unloader or Offloader. This brace is used for arthritis suffers who have pain and inflammation.

A knee sleeve is designed to help protect from any future injury a runner may experience. They do not offer the same support a knee brace would, and they are designed to be worn daily if needed. A knee sleeve will add compression, reduce any pain levels, and limits your patella movement. The main difference between a knee sleeve and a knee brace is that a brace is usually worn by someone who already has an issue or an injury, and a knee sleeve is worn before an injury occurs.

Running is an excellent way to tone your body and lose weight. It offers a chance to get outside and can be a solitary activity or done in a group. As long as runners know the risks and how to be proactive, they can keep running for years to come. Knee braces and knee sleeves are very good preventative measures that can help avoid a major injury, and using your common sense will help if you find yourself with a minor issue.

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