Runner’s knee is a type of knee pain that commonly affects runners. It is medically referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome or anterior knee pain syndrome. Muscle imbalance, weakness of thigh muscles, inadequate stretching, or not following the right running form or technique could be the contributing factors for this condition. Here are some exercises that can be performed to alleviate this type of knee pain and prevent it in the future.
It is important that we learn to put minimum strain on our knee joint, especially, while running. To do this, you will have to activate the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. The emphasis of the exercises should be on strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings. You can start working them initially for a few minutes and then gradually increase the time to about 20 minutes a day.
- Lie on your back on a mat and stretch both your legs in front of you.
- Bend your left knee and let the foot lie on the floor. Slowly, start lifting your right leg off the floor, six inches at a time.
- The most important thing is to keep your right knee locked as you do this. Every time you lift, hold it in the same position for at least 5 seconds.
- While coming down, lower it 6 inches at a time, but do not forget to hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat for each of your legs for 10 to 15 times.
Standing Leg Raises
Standing leg raises are similar to leg raises. You will need some kind of a support (a window pane might help).
- Start with the right leg first. Lock the knee of your right leg, while that of the other leg is left loose.
- Lift your right leg off the ground and remember to flex your toes as you do this. Keep lifting it about 6 inches at a time. Hold for 5 seconds in each position.
- While returning to the starting position, lower the leg 6 inches at a time. Repeat the same for 10 to 15 times on both legs.
Single Leg Dip
Firstly, you will need to support yourself on either side. You could make use of chairs as props.
- Lift your right leg off the ground as you balance yourself well on the left leg.
- Start lowering yourself by pushing all your weight into the heel of the left leg.
- Initially, it will be tough to do, but with practice you will be able to go far down as though you were squatting on single leg. Remember not to let the knee of the left leg go beyond the toes.
- Face your back towards the wall. Keep a distance of about two feet between your feet and the wall, but rest your buttocks on the wall.
- Slowly, start sliding down on the wall till you come to a position similar to sitting on a chair. Tighten your abdominal muscles and clench your buttocks while doing this.
- Hold the position for a minimum of 5 to 7 seconds. Slowly, return to the starting position and repeat it for at least 15 times.
- Lie flat on your stomach. Keep both the legs stretched out.
- Start bending one leg towards your buttocks while keeping the other straight.
- You will notice that it is difficult to touch your leg to the buttocks because of the tightness in your quadriceps. Do this stretch at least 5 times. Then, change sides and repeat.
- After you have done it one leg at a time, do the same stretch with both the legs simultaneously.
These exercises and stretches can be done by anyone. Remember, the knee joint is one of the most important weight-bearing joints of the body. Hence, you should take utmost care of it.