Check out these Runner’s Knee Exercises from sports injury specialist James Dunne. This ten minute routine of stretches and exercises for Runner’s Knee will help you recover from this common problem and get back to training.
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Ok, so if you’re currently struggling with knee pain when you run, the first thing I have to mention is that you need to get it checked out.
There are a number of different potential causes for knee pain in runners, from ITB Syndrome and Patellofemoral Pain to Patella Tendinopathy and Meniscal Cartilage tears, just to name a few…
You need to know what you’re dealing with before you can effectively correct the problem!
So in this video I want to share three simple exercises with you, that will help with the most common causes of knee pain in runners.
One common trait I see in runners who present with classic runner’s knee – patellofemoral pain – or ITB syndrome is tightness in the quads muscles of the front of the thigh.
Tight quads can create imbalances around the patella (the knee cap) and increase forces experienced by the patellofemoral joint of the knee.
This simple side-lying quads stretch is an easy way to work on reducing this tightness.
Lay on your side and slightly bend your bottom leg to create a more stable base. From there reach back and grab the ankle of your top leg and pull your foot towards your butt.
Once you can feel this stretch, keep your thighs parallel and hold the position for 30 seconds 3 times each side.
You’ve probably heard it before, but many of us runners need to learn to use our butt muscles more!
The glutes are so important not just as hip extensors, but also in their role of providing hip stability. If a runner isn’t good at stabilising their standing hip, the knee is usually the joint that pays the price.
To begin with, lay on your back with your heels positioned close to your butt and your knees close together.
With a resistance band placed around your knees, push down through your heels and clench your butt as you raise your hips into a bridge position.
Once at the top of the bridge, pull your knees apart against the resistance of the band.
You should feel the muscles around the sides and back of your hips working hard here!
Hold that ‘knees apart’ position for a slow count of 5 and repeat this for 10 repetitions.
Do this once through to begin with, and over time you can build to 2-3 sets each session.
KNEE DIPS FRONT & BACK
So it’s all well and good working on quads mobility and engagement of key muscle groups such as those glutes. But one vital piece in the knee rehab puzzle is teaching your body to improve control of the knee dynamically when standing on one leg, just as we would be when running.
This simple exercise achieves just that.
Standing on one leg on a raised platform, first reach forwards with the swinging leg and touch your heel on the ground in front of you, then slowly reach back and touch your toe on the ground behind you.
This movement of once back and forth constitutes one repetition.
You should be aiming to perform 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
The key here is balance and control. You’ll be working hard around the hip and ankle to provide stability for the knee. Many runners will feel the knee drifting inwards towards the typical ‘knock-kneed’ position. We want to avoid this!
You may well find it helpful to perform this exercise in front of a mirror to monitor the position of your knee throughout the movement.
I hope you’ve found these exercises helpful. Give them a go at home, and remember – if it hurts – stop!
ABOUT ME: I’m a runner, sports rehabilitation specialist and coach based in the UK (Norwich and London).
Since 2007 I’ve been working with athletes focusing specifically on helping distance runners and triathletes overcome injury and improve performance through developing their individual running technique.
Running biomechanics has become a geeky little passion of mine!
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