7 Ways to Treat Runners Knee
Whether you do it for self-improvement or simply because you need a hobby, running can be one of the healthiest ways to pass time at the beginning or end of a long workday. However, as they age, many habitual runners will find themselves performing less and less (or sometimes not at all), but not necessarily because they’re experiencing gut-wrenching pain…it’s that dull, throbbing sensation that pulses throughout the knee more frequently upon each stride. If you’re beginning to feel the effects of this condition, which is known as runners knee, you might want to start taking steps to remedy the problem so you can get back to your beneficial physical routine. Here are seven runners knee treatment options that will likely have you back in your tennis shoes and striding the track in a matter of days.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Since runners knee often occurs as a result of poorly-developed muscles and structural support both above and below the actual source of the pain, it only makes sense to stretch and exercise surrounding areas, such as your thighs and hips. Hip flexor stretches will help release tension in your knee joints as you place one knee to the floor (preferably using a gym mat) and step forward with the other leg in order to assume a kneeling position. You will then slide back the foot of your kneeling leg while balancing your standing leg. Hold this position for about thirty seconds as you slowly push your hips forward, feeling a noticeable tug on your thighs and upper knees.
While the hip flexors do far more for your upper legs, there is one exercise that will help get your lower leg muscles accustomed to those long-winded cardio workouts and the repetitive motions involved. One of the simplest stretches to perform, the leg curl is started by lying flat on your stomach. Ready? All you have to do is lift one foot at a time (while keeping your knee to the floor) until your leg is curled at a 90-degree angle, then hold and release until you feel that slight burn in your calves and lower knee (could be done with a dumbbell held by feet).
Front Thigh Stretch
Since your front thighs and quadriceps are supported by your knees, you’ll want to apply heavy focus to these areas. There is a series of upper leg stretches that can be done on your back, and one of them is a front thigh stretch. With this one, you’ll keep your knees straight, lift each leg so that it is perpendicular to the floor, then hold for as long as possible. Implementing this runners knee treatment will certainly help you take pressure off those knees.
While you’re on your back, you might as well go ahead and get this notorious hamstring exercise out of the way. Instead of raising each leg perpendicular, like in the front thigh stretch, you’ll want to still keep each leg straight but only raise the stretching leg a few inches above the floor and hold for as long as possible. This will produce a profound burning effect in each hamstring, but the results can make a tremendous difference in just about every leg muscle, including your knees, since the hamstring is the strongest and most influential for mobility.
Inner and Outer Thigh Stretches
When it comes to stretching, there are two last areas in your legs to focus on: the inner and outer thighs. Before you sit from your lying position on the floor or gym mat, repeat the same process as in the front thigh stretch, but this time, turn your lifting foot outward in order to work those inner thigh muscles. After doing so with the opposite leg, repeat the process again, but turn your lifting foot inward to work the outer thighs. If you don’t quite feel enough burn in your inner thighs after doing so, sit upright and finish with an exercise known as the butterfly stretch. Simply bend your knees outward while sitting and place the soles of both feet together, holding for at least thirty seconds.
Heating Pad and Proper Sleeping Position
At the end of a long and arduous run, you might notice that the pain and swelling seems to get worse, especially as the entire day winds down. In the evening while at rest, apply a heating pad to those painful bones as often as possible because the higher temperature will naturally relax the muscle and joint tension. In addition, try placing a pillow under your knees while you sleep to ensure that you don’t wake up with your knees stiffer than they were before. If you sleep with your knees straight all night, you might be unpleasantly surprised by all the tightness that ensues, so don’t forget the pillow trick! Following these easy runners knee treatment steps will likely have you ending each day with less pain and swelling, allowing you begin the cycle again in a fresher form as each new day begins!