Runners with knee pain are told to stretch and strengthen their quads, the muscles that are linked to the knee. However, studies have shown that strengthening the hips and trunk was more effective than just working the quads. Increased stability in the hips and trunks led to better movement patterns, freeing the knees from excessive force.
According to a study by Harvard University, striking the ground with your foot beneath your knee, instead of in front of it, reduces “braking” and lessens impact forces. The study went on to say the best method of landing was 170 steps per minute.
Single-Leg Hip Thrust
This moves helps to build up your hip stability and strength, whilst offloading your knees.
First, place your arms and shoulders on a bench. Put your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent and your spine neutral. Then lift your right foot off the floor. Drive up through your left foot, and use your glutes to bring your left thigh parallel to the floor, and your pelvis level. Pause, then lower and repeat for 10-15 reps before changing legs.
If you sustain an injury, here are some tips on how to treat it:
Breathe: For staying calm, which is imperative with acute injuries, such as sprains.
Evaluate: Find out what the damage is. You should ask a sports medicine professional about it.
Compress: For soft-tissue injuries, put pressure on the area with your joint in a neutral position.
Able actions: Find out what actions you can do pain-free. Do these for one minute every hour.
Lift: Elevate the injured body part above your heart to decrease any swelling.
Minimal icing: Ice does not help with healing but it can ease the pain. Put it on for five minutes, then 20 minutes off and five mins on again, just twice a day.
‘Runner’s World’ magazine, May 2016.