So far, we’ve shared information on what Runner’s Knee is and how to tell if you really have it, and how it’s treated. Today we’re looking at how you can prevent it.
How can I prevent getting Runner’s Knee?
Prevention of almost all running injuries involves going slow and steady. This means developing general conditioning, muscle strength and flexibility, and increase mileage over a longer period of time.
Stretching is really important, as is avoiding the “overdoing” it that you see in weekend warriors and highly fit athletes alike. When you’re fit, your body can be pushed to run further or faster; but you can also unknowingly go past where your body is truly conditioned.
Bhavana Reddy, a friend of mine who also happens to be a runner and my Physical Therapist at Kaiser Permanente, had me do stretches for the quad, hamstring, calf, IT band, hip flexors and hip rotator muscles. We also did strengthening exercises: for the quads, especially the VMO (vastus medialis oblique – one of the muscles that make up the quads); the glut medius (hip abductors); and core. Bhavana Reddy, a PT at Kaiser Permanente, says, “Core strengthening exercises are very good for runners, likes bridges or bridges with kick out.”
This includes runners coming back from another injury – like me. I came out of the pool after my stress fracture and went right to the Newport Marathon course. Weeks later, I developed runner’s knee and my summer race calendar was shot.
You can cross-train to develop fitness, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes, try to find softer surfaces for your long runs, and avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week.
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the series by finding out if you can “cure” Runner’s Knee.