Runners Series: Exercises for Anterior Knee Pain

runners exercises knee pain

Running has always been the number one go-to cardiovascular exercise for many. However, many also stop running for good after facing knee discomfort or pain.

Running is a high impact activity. Research shows that the amount of force placed on the knee tendon while running is about 4.7-6.9 times the body weight and knee joint compression force is about 7 – 11 times the body weight (Stan L James, MD: Running Injuries to the Knee. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1995;3:309-318.)

A marathon runner takes an average of 25,000 steps during a race, not forgetting all of the other mileage clocked leading to the marathon day. Imagine how much of a load is put on the knee joint!

Four of the most common injuries are usually anterior knee pain, iliotibial-band (ITB) syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy, and plantar-fasciitis. The most common issue behind these 4 injures can be due to muscular imbalance or improper running technique.

This article is the first of a 4-part series to help with pain commonly experienced by runners.

Part 1: Anterior knee pain in runners

Anterior knee pain is usually caused by imbalances of the front and back of the thigh, namely the Quadriceps (front) and Hamstring (back) muscles. It can also be caused by improper loading of the Glutes (butt) muscles.

Here are few strengthening ideas for the back of your thigh and Glutes that. May help with Anterior knee pain:

1. Hamstring March (Basic)

  1. Start by laying on your back with both knees bent and heels away from your body.
  2. While keeping a tight core, lift your hip off the ground
  3. Keeping one heel firmly on the ground, begin lifting the other leg toward the ceiling
  4. Alternate your heels one at a time.

2. Towel Hamstring curl (Advanced)

  1. Lay on your back and place a folded towel under your heel.
  2. Lift your hip and slowly slide your heels away from your hip, focusing on your hamstring (back of your thigh)
  3. Pull your heel towards your hip to complete the movement.

3. Glute Bridge(Basic)

  1. Start by laying on your back with both knees bent.
  2. Keep your heels slightly apart but keep your feet close to your hip.
  3. Keeping a tight core, lift your hip towards the ceiling, squeezing your butt at the top.
  4. Return to the original position.

4. Single leg Glute bridge (Advanced)

  1. Start by laying on your back with knees bent.
  2. Lift one leg.
  3. Thrust your hip off the floor with your other leg.
  4. Return to the original position and repeat.

I hope the above exercises help to relieve your pain.

In the event that these exercises don’t work, contact me for a Sports Therapy consultation!

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