There are a number of different injuries and types of pain that can affect the knee of a runner. The reason for this is that during any average run, the knees take a serious beating, as they are the joints that absorb most of the shock from your foot hitting the pavement. The knees and the back are two of the most common places to experience injury as a result of running, and even expensive running shoes can fail to protect you from the issues that can be caused by pounding the pavement too long, or too often. While it's usually a good idea to wait out knee pain and give the joint time to heal, there are things that you can do if you need to continue running with knee pain, despite the discomfort.
Step 1: Stretch
Thoroughly stretching the muscles in your legs, including the ligaments and tendons around your knee joint can help to reduce some of the aches and pains associated with knee discomfort. Often, knee pain occurs as a result of inflammation or extensive stretching within the connective tissue, so it's important to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before you engage in any exercises that might make your condition worse.
With the blessing of your doctor you can keep running with knee pain by utilizing effective stretching techniques. Good stretches can include standing toe reaches, butterfly stretches, sitting toe reaches, and side bends. Hold each stretch for around ten seconds to properly work your tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
Step 2: Hot and Cold Therapy
In some cases, applying heat to your knee before you engage in a run can be a great way to help improve the versatility of your knee tissue, ensuring that it absorbs shock better because it is more elastic. Dynamic stretches before you continue running with knee pain also work in the same way, by preparing your muscles for the exercise it is about to endure. Proper heat therapy can also reduce the pain in your knee if you are suffering from existing problems.
Alternatively, applying ice packs to your knees after a run can help to prevent inflammation and swelling. Most athletes prefer to place a towel between the skin and the ice pack to ensure that the knee doesn't suffer from cold burns during recovery.
Step 3: Compression Therapy
Use a knee compression sleeve designed to work on the knee joint during periods of running, as well as before and after exercise. These sleeves help to keep the patella in one place as you run, and the rest of the sleeve helps to hold crucial knee tissues in place, thereby preventing injury.
Make sure that when you purchase a compression sleeve to continue running with knee pain, you select the right size for your knee, as a sleeve that is too loose will not provide any assistance, whereas a sleeve that's too tight could cut off your circulation and lead to further problems.
Reduce Knee Strain
Aside from the above steps, it's a good idea to reduce some of the strain your knee has to cope with by ensuring that you only run on softer surfaces while you recover. For example, instead of hitting the pavement, try rubber tracks, or stick to grass and dirt trails.