Kelly Robinson is the resident Physio in Men’s Running Magazine…..

I have sore knees after runs on tarmac, but never really on trails. It’s primarily my left knee, just below my kneecap. It feels like it’s bruised to touch for a few hours after running and if I’ve just done a big run and pushed it a bit more, the pain gets unbearable. I’ve found one stretch that helps me a little, which is lying on my front and pulling my feet to my bum, but even this is no cure. It’s stopping me from running for about two days after each run.

Kelly’s advice in the FIX YOU column was…..

Many runners suffer with knee pain similar to this. It is often put under the umbrella term of ‘Runner’s Knee’, which is effectively an overuse injury to one or both knees caused by running. There are a number of structures that can cause pain around the front of the knee, the most common being the patellofemoral joint (PFJ). The patella (knee cap) sits in a groove on the front of the thigh bone (femur) and any altered forces going through this joint can cause malalignment, leading to PFJ pain when put under load. This is commonly known as Patellofemoral Joint Syndrome or PFJS.

The usual suspects that contribute to PFJ pain are:

  • Poor biomechanics e.g. overpronation (flat feet)
  • Excessively tight quads, hip flexors and iliotibial band (ITB)
  • Poor hip/pelvic control due to weak glutes, core muscles, quads and abductors
  • PFJS commonly affects those who do little or no resistance work within their training programme. It can also occur in runners who increase mileage too rapidly or have
  • too few rest days.

To see Kelly’s suggested exercises, Men’s Running Feb 2013

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