Knee Pain is a common injury in runners, especially so when distance runners are starting to increase their milage. There are many reasons for knee pain, and specific diagnosis is best carried out by a sports physio or physician. This thread is only to explain how to help prevent general knee pain from occurring, it is not for curing current problems, anyone who wants to add to it with what works for them, go right ahead.
I've suffered from knee pain for a good few months, happened first when wearing unsuitable footwear on a long, mucky, run, where my legs were slipping all over the place. Took a while to calm down to a level where I could run again, and it can flare up if I'm not careful. Ways I've found to help prevent knee pain from flaring up again include:
*Running on grass. Hard surfaces greatly increase the impact forces on the knee, concrete running is worst of all. Try running for a while on grass to see how that helps.
*No more downhills. Hate this, because my favourite thing is to run fast, down a mucky hill, but the impact forces are multiples of what they would be running on the flat. So I find if I limit my downhill running, that helps keep pain at bay a lot.
*Footwear. My trusty shoes, which I had worn for three years without issue, were withdrawn, so I had to try different pairs. I eventually settled on the updated 2011 version of my trusted brand, but still ran with pain. I eventually tracked down a pair of my old 2008 runners online, am running in them now, and the difference is immense, pain went within three runs. Make sure your footwear is suitable to your gait.
This is what helped for me, along with stretches, and strengthening exercises. A lot of runners say changing their gait from a heel strike to a mid strike helps, but I'm not really experienced in that to discuss it.
I can't remember where I read it, I think it was one of the Lydiard pdf's but he was talking about how when he ran he was always ran with his knees slightly bent at impact. He commented that when racing he was a few inches smaller in height than his competitors as a result.
Rather than over-stridding and jamming a straight knee into the ground a slightly bent knee at impact will use the bodies natural shock absorbtion which should reduce impact forces being transmitted up the leg thus reducing the risk of injury.
Thats my understanding of it anyways.
I have a copy of the original paper below - I thought it was also free on the web, but can't find it now.
At the bottom are the two exercises used in the study:
Changes in knee biomechanics after a hip abductor strengthening protocol for runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome
Very few authors have investigated the relationship between hip-abductor muscle strength and frontal-plane knee mechanics during running.
To investigate this relationship using a 3-week hip-abductor muscle-strengthening program to identify changes in strength, pain, and biomechanics in runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).
PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:
Fifteen individuals (5 men, 10 women) with PFPS and 10 individuals without PFPS (4 men, 6 women) participated.
The patients with PFPS completed a 3-week hip-abductor strengthening protocol; control participants did not.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):
The dependent variables of interest were maximal isometric hip-abductor muscle strength, 2-dimensional peak knee genu valgum angle, and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability. All measures were recorded at baseline and 3 weeks later. Between-groups differences were compared using repeated-measures analyses of variance.
At baseline, the PFPS group exhibited reduced strength, no difference in peak genu valgum angle, and increased stride-to-stride knee-joint variability compared with the control group. After the 3-week protocol, the PFPS group demonstrated increased strength, less pain, no change in peak genu valgum angle, and reduced stride-to-stride knee-joint variability compared with baseline.
A 3-week hip-abductor muscle-strengthening protocol was effective in increasing muscle strength and decreasing pain and stride-to-stride knee-joint variability in individuals with PFPS. However, concomitant changes in peak knee genu valgum angle were not observed.
This is a good website for anyone who wants to read up about runners knee, or jumpers knee as they call it. I know advice off the internet is not perfect but I found the stretching and strengthening exercises have really helped me.
Do any of you get gait analysis done when buying trail runners? I know in theory it shouldn't matter when running on trails. I had some knee trouble last year due to collapsed soles in the runners I was using at the time. They've since been binned and been replaced by a pair of Nike trail shoes which I got for a E10 as they are two different sizes. No laughing please I now have a similar pain as last year but in my right knee.
I know the error of my ways now and will be shelling out on a good set of trail runners in Amphibian King, but I'm just wondering should I be getting a pair based on fit, comfort and terrain needs or else worry about gait issues.
My odd sized runners may actually be okay and I may just need to go to a physio but everyone likes shiny new stuff and it could be the easiest fix.