Knee Pain From Running Recovery Plan

Knee pain from running is preventable. Yes, you can run again in most cases. You need a recovery plan for a return to jogging. Do stop running if it hurts before real damage is done, then use this plan that addresses the cause as well as your rehabilitation.

Running injuries are most common at two stages…

  1. When beginning jogging...
  2. When increasing mileage to a new threshold as in ½ marathon training.

Overuse Injuries

knee pain from running2

Both these causes classify as overuse injuries. The beginner jogger and the experienced runner increasing her mileage are enthusiastic participants and perhaps, a little impatient.

Part of the reason why we often feel we can do more is we just feel so darned good. Your heart and lungs are supplying the extra output needed quite easily. This is quite encouraging. However, your legs knees, shins and ankles are still adapting or need to adapt to the new threshold.

Preventing Running Pain

Patience in training is the answer. It is the best advice I can give. Unfortunately, it is also the advice you most likely disregard as not applying to you.

Running and jogging is a normal natural activity. In days long gone by—it meant survival. It was transportation, play activity and used in hunting. Our ancestors where fit or they just didn’t make it. Read about marathon history here. Today, we run for fun and fitness. Jogging is an enjoyable activity with numerous benefits.

We do reap the rewards from our ancestors’ use of running. Our feet, ankles and legs developed into powerful tools for our use. So don’t ever let anyone tell you running is not normal.

OK, now let’s look at the two causes of knee pain from running more closely.

Leg Strength Determines Knee Health

Your knee is a remarkable joint. It works to allow a bending action of your leg. What you may not know is that the knee does not work alone. It requires the adjacent muscles to stabilize the joint.

A significant factor in preventing knee pain is leg strength. Your thigh muscles must be strong enough to hold your knees properly in place with each step. Weak quadriceps allow the knee to move around, rubbing surrounding tissue and cartilage. Eventually causing knee pain and if ignored, possible permanent knee injury.

Your calf muscles also play a key role in preventing knee injuries. These muscles act to absorb the shock or stress of each foot strike. A long stride stretches out the leg causing much of the shock to be centered smack dab right in the knee instead of being disbursed and absorbed by the leg muscles. To find out if you are using the correct running form, see running technique.

If you have knee pain from running now, you should not run. Think of it this way…

Would you like to be able to jog for the rest of your life or would you rather run now and perhaps permanently wreck your knees?

I have had to make this choice too at some point. I will always choose to take the course of action that keeps me jogging for life.

This is hard to do. But, we have a plan...

Jogging Back From Knee Pain From Running

  1. Stop running if it hurts. Ice the knee joint after every workout.

  2. You will keep active using cross training, walking, water jogging or cycling.

  3. As knee recovers, introduce knee exercises. Leg curls or do flights of stairs to build leg strength.

  4. Re-evaluate your running form and make adjustments.

  5. Ensure you are using proper jogging shoes and that they do not show too much wear.

  6. Introduce running only when knees are totally recovered and you have notable increased leg strength.

  7. Start with 2-3 days of light jogging per week. First run should not be more than 1 mile and must be completely pain free before increasing mileage.

  8. Jogging speed should be slow enough to make for an easy run. Faster leg turnover means that you are striking the ground that much more frequently. Save speed work until you have made a complete recovery.

  9. Increase mileage in increments. Ideally, it would be by a half mile a week. This is the best way to avoid a return of knee pain from running.

  10. Always use your own judgement when following a 5K training plan or other fitness workout program. Prewritten plans are excellent references; however, they cannot predict how you feel on any given day.

Leave Knee Pain From Running and go to Running Injuries

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