Knee pain while running can be caused by:
1. Shoes that do not absorb shock properly.
2. Muscles around the hip that are too tight.
3. Muscles around the hip that are too weak.
During running, when your foot hits the ground, it is approximately 3 to 5 times your body weight. That is a lot of force for your body to control, reduce, and transfer. If you have muscle imbalances at your hip (certain muscles that are too tight, and others that are too weak), then your knee will compensate by moving inwards when your foot hits the ground. This significantly increases the stress of your knee which overtime can lead to pain. However, you can help prevent or alleviate this pain with a few easy additions to your warm-up or workout routine.
Step 1: Inhibit tight or overactive muscles. Try a technique called self myofascial release to massage out knots in your muscles that limit your muscle’s ability to work properly. Using a foam roll, roll the front of your thigh, side of your thigh, and hip rotators. When you feel a tender spot, maintain pressure on the spot for 20-30 seconds.
Step 2: Lengthen short, tight muscles. Static stretching (holding a stretched muscle for 30 seconds) helps to increase the length of short, tight muscles and over time, restores these muscles to optimum length so they can produce, reduce and stabilize forces throughout the body efficiently. Stretch your outer hamstring, and inner thigh muscles.
Step 3: Activate weak muscles. This step is essential as several weak muscles will not be working optimally and need to be “woken up” to get them firing correctly. These exercises can help wake up your core and glute muscles: floor bridge and side to side tube walking.
Step 4: Integrate or coordinate your movement. Teaching your muscles to work together properly to transfer and absorb force. Try the cable squat to row. This is a great exercise that utilizes and conditions the whole body.