How do I Avoid Knee Pain from Running?

Dan Cavallari

The key to figuring out how to determine the cause of the knee pain. Running can cause a lot of impact on the joints in the legs, especially the knees, and cartilage damage can occur when you run regularly. An improper gait while running can cause pain, so in order to avoid knee pain from running, you may need to have a gait analysis done to figure out how to make your running stride more efficient and lower impact on the joints. In some cases, wearing a brace may be enough to avoid knee pain from running, while in more severe cases, physical therapy or even surgery may be necessary.

Indoor running equipment can cause knee pain if it's set at an improper level.
Indoor running equipment can cause knee pain if it's set at an improper level.

The first step in diagnosing the possible causes of knee pain is to visit a doctor. He or she may be able to make suggestions for you to avoid knee pain from running by eliminating possible causes of pain, such as arthritis, which as no cure, and cartilage damage, which may require surgery. Tendinitis, torn or strained ligaments, or bone spurs may all be causes of knee pain, and these may require specific medical procedures for treatment, while others may require rest and physical therapy. If a doctor diagnoses one of these issues, follow his or her specific instructions.

A man with a twisted knee.
A man with a twisted knee.

A runner's gait can have a significant effect on the amount of strain and use the knee can endure. To avoid knee pain from running that is caused by an improper gait, consider consulting a professional trainer or medical professional who can identify your specific gait issues and recommend a course of action. Choosing a more supportive pair of running shoes is almost always recommended, and in some cases, shoes can be purchased that will help correct pronation, which occurs when the feet face too far inward. Knee braces may also be recommended; these can help support the ligaments that connect the bones in a joint, and in some cases, the knee brace can help reduce swelling.

Supportive shoes can help prevent knee pain when running.
Supportive shoes can help prevent knee pain when running.

Consider analyzing your regular running schedule. In some cases, it is easy to avoid knee pain from running simply by running less or at different times. Running too much or overtraining can damage the ligaments, cartilage, and even the bones in the joint. Stress fractures can develop in the bones if they can no longer support the strain of running; these small breaks in the bone can cause mild to severe pain, and in some cases, rest will allow the bone to heal on its own. More serious fractures may need surgery and can lead to more serious or chronic problems in the knee.

Many runners sustain knee injuries when pushing their limits.
Many runners sustain knee injuries when pushing their limits.
High-impact aerobics, like running, can cause small tears and sprains in the knee.
High-impact aerobics, like running, can cause small tears and sprains in the knee.
An improper gait while running can cause knee pain.
An improper gait while running can cause knee pain.
In severe cases, physical therapy may be necessary to treat knee pain from running.
In severe cases, physical therapy may be necessary to treat knee pain from running.

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Discussion Comments

mobilian33

I have read that many of the conditions and injuries that happen in the lower body start because of our feet. The problems could start because of the way our feet are made or because of an injury to our feet. Something as simple as fallen arches can lead to knee pain when you are running.

When you think about it, your feet are the foundation for your entire body, so you need to take care of them to avoid pain in other parts of the body.

Sporkasia

I agree with this article that adjusting your running gait can go a long way in reducing knee pain from running. I can simply lengthen and shorten my stride when I am running and feel the difference this makes on the stress being put on my knees.

I discovered that when I was playing tennis I would take a lot more short steps and this was putting more weight on my knees during matches. I have since learned there are times when I can take longer strides and reduce the pressure without hurting my tennis game.

Drentel

The body is like a car. After a 100,000 miles you can look for things to start breaking down. I don't know what the human equivalent of 100,000 miles is, but I'm guessing it's measured in years.

For me, knee pain and running go hand in hand. If I insist on running then my knees will hurt. When I can't put up with the pain that's the signal from my body telling me to stop running. Nowadays, I run only when it is absolutely necessary. There are some surgeries that I could consider, but until I have pain from walking I'm going to leave well enough alone.

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