Running is a terrific form of aerobic exercise that can help to keep your body in shape, help you to lose weight and keep your heart and lungs in good condition. However, running can lead to injuries if you are not careful. When you are running, you are putting stress and pressure on your leg and knee joints and if you’re not careful, this can lead to damage which is very disabling and crippling. The knee is the main joint that becomes injured during running and unfortunately about 70% of all runners will have problems with their knee joints.
Runners’ knee is a painful condition that happens when the kneecap (patella bone) rubs against the upper leg (thigh region). The cartilage between the knee cap and leg bone becomes irritated and worn by the action that the leg suffers from.
There are some things that you can do to reduce your chances of having a knee injury from this. First and foremost, make sure you have the correct footwear, especially if you have feet that have fallen arches or are hypermobile. Wearing the correct footwear will help to prevent knee injury, but make sure you get good advice because some shoes may have insoles that do not offer enough support. Experts advise replacing insoles that can bend with stiffer insoles or inserts, as this will provide more of the support that you need to have while running.
It is important to have strong thigh muscles as these help to keep the knee cap in the correct position, yet exercising all the muscles of the body collectively is essential for overall fitness. There are exercises that you can do to specifically strengthen the thigh muscles and subsequently the knee. Various squats can help as well as sitting knee extensions which not only bolster the those muscles but also stabilize the knee joint. Remember, the thigh muscles are vital for keeping the kneecap in the correct position and providing support to the knee.
Strength training will help to keep you in good shape and prevent joint injuries when you run. You should also be sure to warm up before you start, an aspect of any sport that is crucial but often most neglected. Warming up before a run helps to increase circulation to the joints and muscles and helps to gradually prepare your body for exercise. Warm up by walking and doing some stretches.
Diet and Nutrition
It is also wise to eat a healthy diet and perhaps consider nutritional supplements to compliment your exercise regime. Your doctor can advise you on what – if any – supplements you may need and always be aware that vitamins and supplements should be taken as directed. Never underestimate the importance of keeping hydrated so make sure to drink enough fluid and take in electrolytes if you are running. Electrolyte imbalances and dehydration can also cause muscle and joint pain and potential injury. You can avoid damaging your joints by taking a sensible approach to your running. If you follow our advice, you should be able to safely run with less chance of injuring yourself.