If you're a runner and you haven't dealt with any knee pain, that's impressive. Because unfortunately, knee-related injuries are extremely common, accounting for 42% of all running injuries. That's a startling statistic, so doing everything in your power to prevent knee pain before it becomes debilitating is important.
Here are some of the reasons why your knees might be bugging you, and possible solutions for getting them back on track. That being said, if you're dealing with knee pain—or any other kind of pain, for that matter—always consult a doctor.
1. You have a history of running injuries.
2. Your trunk is too upright.
3. The distance you're running is too far.
4. Your hip abductors need strengthening.
5. You have weak hip extensors.
6. Your balance is a little off.
If your balance is poor, this decreases your ability to respond to perturbations and landing forces when running, which increases knee pain4. Inability to stand on one foot without wobbling is a hint that your balance needs work. To improve your balance, practice standing on one foot—even if it's just for a minute or two while you're brushing your teeth. Once you master that, try to do the same thing with your eyes closed.
7. You run too fast.
8. You land on your heels.
9. You use a large step length.
While it's great if these tips help lessen your pain, always make sure to consult a professional, especially if your pain persists.
Want more running tips? Find out how to do a running meditation, and read up on why these famous runners lace up their sneakers every day.
Rachel Straub, M.S., is an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, biomechanist, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), and co-author of Weight Training Without Injury: Over 350 Step-by-Step Pictures Including What Not to Do!, which has won 17 book awards and has been endorsed by major names in sports medicine, physical therapy, and professional bodybuilding. She received her B.A. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, master's degrees in nutritional sciences and exercise physiology from San Diego State University, and a master's in bio-kinesiology from UCLA.