No other exercise compares when it comes to the sense of freedom and feelings of fitness that come from running. Unfortunately, no other exercise wears on the knees as much as running either. Knee pain is a common problem among runners, yet there are ways of preventing knee pain and injury from running.
Strengthen the muscle that stabilizes the knee
Running delivers a shock to the knees with each stride. This is the main cause of knee pain from running. There are two ways to lessen this shock, thereby preventing the pain and damage resulting from it. First, take a short break from running, about 7 days, and get at least 3 good workouts on an hip adductor machine at your local gym. The adductor machine works the inner thigh muscle, a stabilizing muscle that when strengthened relieves and prevents a great deal of pressure and shock to the knee joint. It may take 3 to 4 weeks of working on the adductor machine before you see significant results, but you can continue to run during the process.
Check your stride or form when running
Next, take a close look at your stride next time you run. There are hundreds of subtle nuances to each person’s stride, or form, when running. It will be awkward at first because running is often a natural activity where each individual movement takes place outside of your awareness. However, you may want to consider altering your stride or form, as a small change can often result in big shifts to how your legs absorb the shock of each step. Some runners even land on the balls of their feet (like when running barefoot) instead of landing on their heels. The calf muscle then absorbs all of the shock generated from landing, keeping your knees and hips pain and injury free.
Take supplements that work
There are several supplements on the market that claim to prevent joint pain. Most, like glucosamine chondroitin for example, are mildly helpful at best. In fact, one study published by the National Institute of Health found “glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate together or alone did not provide statistically significant pain relief.” One supplement where numerous studies have found very positive results is SAMe. It works by stimulating “proteoglycan synthesis (needed for joint function).” In other words, it stimulates repairs to cartilage and joints – and the knees need plenty of that when running.
Thomas D. Fahey, “Basic Weight Training for Men and Women,” McGraw-Hill
“What is SAMe, What Does it Do, and is it Safe? Treatment for Depression, Joint Pain and / or Arthritis,” Associated Content
NCCAM Publication,”NIH Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial Primary Study,” National Institute of Health