Sore Knees and Racing Soon? Tackle Runners Knee Head on!


Hi guys! Hope you’re all going well with the longer runs. It was great to catch up with a whole bunch of the RMA crew over the weekend at the workshop.  Everyone looked awesome. I just wanted to quickly go through runners knee because whatever you’re training for it’s important to be aware of risk factors and be proactive with your knees. Firstly what is runners knee and basically it’s what we call patellofemoral syndrome, the knee cap tracks poorly on the large bone of the leg and causes inflammation and pain. It can be mild, just achey knees with long runs or severe, stabbing, catching leading to degeneration of cartilage under the knee . The gyst being, lets not go there!

So to avoid it we first have to know what causes it and basically it’s a tracking issue as I said. The muscles and ligaments around the outside of the knee are really strong, ITB, quads on that side (vastus lateralis) the list goes on. Then on the inside you have weak structures that get inhibited and turn off easily. The part of the quad on the inside is listed in out textbooks as ‘the quitter’, says it all really. So this is why so many runners tackle runners knee by targeting ITB tightness on the outside and they’re right…get your foam rollers out and go for it guys. Thing is you want to use more than just that one strategy because like most things with the body, it’s a bit more complicated than you think.

If you get even the first inkling of runners knee, tackle it! First check your technique. It often comes on as distance increases. What we see is that runners fatigue and start to sink through knees. If you plan to do Gold Coast in around two hours twenty…this is not your problem!! What I mean is elite runners will strike and push back in the one action. Mere mortals like us can have a tendency to strike, sink and then push particularly as we tire. We call it ‘flat tyre’ running and it smashes knees so just be aware of it. Check technique at all times. Secondly know your way around your knees. Start understanding the pattern of trigger points so you can ease them off after runs. We as runners forget that tightness also inhibits muscles, remember ‘the quitter’ it’s the teardrop shaped one on the inside. Wake it up! Release it and then you can look at correct technique for strengthening it specifically for running.

Finally if you’re having pain in the knee it may be worthwhile taping it so the knee cap tracks the right way. Tape can be handy leading into a race to support and you can use Ktape on race day which supports but also gives you full range and flexibility. It can get you through and then you can address it in detail, shoe support, run technique etc. etc. when you have your finishers medal around your neck!

Can’t wait to meet Nicole and all the RMA crew at Gold Coast. Send your questions if you need a hand in the next few weeks and remember to grab one of us early on the day if you want knee support for the race. Runners knee needs a book to cover everything so I hope you have enough info to get started. Put a couple of links that might help you know your way around knees.

Quick note for Gold Coast runners in an important week, remember if you’re struggling, think about water running this week. You can do the same times in the pool rather than distance and not lose any fitness. Don’t break yourself now! You’re almost there!

Enjoy guys! Talk next week,

Paul Trevethan




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