Knee injuries affect runners of every age, experience and size. In fact, a 2009 Fox News article explains that "as many as 70 percent of runners may experience knee injuries at some point in their lives," according to Dr. Kevin Plancer, an orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine. The complexity of the knee joint puts it at a significant risk for multiple injuries. Fortunately, runners can incorporate certain techniques into their running routine to prevent a knee injury while running.
- Skill level:
Select running shoes that fit your feet correctly. Your running shoes should not only fit the length of your foot, but also the width and shape. You will also want to consider the shape of your arches, which may be normal, high, low or absent. Speak with a podiatrist regarding what you should look for in a running shoe.
Maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise. The more weight you carry, the more weight your knees must support while running. Excess body weight leads to excess stress on the knees, and can quickly lead to injury. The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases explains that obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Strengthen the leg muscles that support and stabilise the knee, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip abductors and calf muscles. Incorporate strength-training exercises into your routine at least two or three days per week.
Stretch thoroughly after about 10 minutes of walking or light jogging. According to RunnersRescue.com, warming up before stretching significantly reduces the risk of injury. The website suggests a variety of stretches for runners, including stretches that warm the legs, hips, back and buttocks. Hold each stretch for 30 to 40 seconds and maintain fluid movements. Bouncing while stretching puts your muscles at risk for tearing or becoming injured.
Land each foot strike on either your flat foot or the ball of your foot, rather than landing on your heel. According to RunningPlanet.com, "the ideal landing position is slightly toward the outside edge of your foot, just behind your little toe. Your foot would then naturally roll slightly inward while pushing off over your big toe."
Maintain proper posture while running, which involves keeping your hips pulled forward and buttocks tucked in. As explained by RunningPlanet.com, this posture allows your knees to lift higher with less effort. While your torso should remain upright, a slight forward lean is beneficial. Push your chest out and draw your shoulders back.
Keep your feet close to the ground while running, rather than bouncing high into the air. Bouncing high into the air causes excessive stress on your knees as you land. Use quick, light steps to propel your body along.
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