Causes and Treatments for Runner’s Knee

Most of us have developed knee pain at one point in our lives or the other. Runner’s knee is a broad term that is used to refer to any of the conditions which are characterized by knee pain. A good thing to note at the very beginning of this article is that this condition is not entirely limited to runners and anyone (including athletes and plus sizes) can easily use a knee brace to stop worsening of the conditions. it is common to many individuals as I will explain below.

The typical knee joint consist of muscle, cartilage, ligaments, and bone in layers. The bone that lies just above the knee joint is referred to as the patella. It serves as an attachment to various muscles. Its mobility is one of the major causes of knee injuries.
Examples of the syndromes that cause runners knee are iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment and chondromalacia patella.

Common Causes:

The underlying problem in runner’s knee is the overuse of the joint. Any activity which overstimulates and causes stress to the knee joint will eventually result in runner’s knee. Among these include, running, excessive walking, skiing, biking, jumping, cycling, and soccer.

Other underlying conditions include:

• Trauma to the knee
• Weak or tense thigh muscles
• Arthritis
• Dislocated knee cap

What symptoms and signs will I present with if I have Runner’s knee?

Recent research has shown that the majority of people will present to a doctor with advanced knee joint problems. This is because the most common presentation in individuals is a dull pain which may be mild behind the kneecap. The pain is aggravated by normal walking, running or even exercise.

You will also experience pain when:

• Squatting
• Kneeling
• Seating down with the knees bent
• Standing up from sitting position

In later stages, you will likely have a swollen knee and a grinding/popping sound when you walk. Of note, in particular, is that patients with iliotibial band syndrome present with pain on the outside of the knee.

How will a diagnosis be made?

First, your doctor will take a thorough history then perform a general exam before undertaking lab tests, or radiological exams to confirm the diagnosis.

What treatments are available to me if I do have runner’s knee?

The good news is that this condition is curable depending on the underlying cause, for example, compression will help reduce the swelling around the knee. You will be required to rest and that will prevent exposing the knee to excess strain. Ice and analgesics’ will be used for pain relief and control of swelling. Physiotherapy may be suggested to rehabilitate the joint and restore function. In cases of total cartilage damage at the knee, surgery may be required but this is hardly ever the case.

How can I prevent runner’s knee?

• Ideal running shoes
• Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts
• Always undertake warm-up exercises before attempting strenuous activity on the knee joint.
• Proper form when running

Runner’s knee happens to most runners, but preventing and treating it is in your power. If you have been diagnosed then work with your doctor and physiotherapist to get your back into shape.

Preparing for Your First Half Marathon

Preparing for Your First Half Marathon

Your first half marathon is a big deal and you need to prepare both mentally and physically for what is a grueling race.  Preparing for your first half marathon is going to take dedication and a commitment to your training regimen.  Completing a half marathon won’t come without training so how do you get started?  Let’s look at how you can prepare for this race.

Get up and Get Started

Training starts with you getting up off the couch putting on some sneakers and starting to run.  You need to train on a regular basis and you should run half the distance of the race as part of your regular routine.  A half marathon is roughly thirteen miles so as part of your training you should be running 6-7 miles regularly.  You may want to get a trainer or a running partner who is also preparing for the race.  You can run together and hold each other accountable.  Start as early as possible for the race, you should have at least 4 months particularly if you have never run before.  Start slowly and work your way up, be careful not to overtrain or injury will sidetrack your race.  Here are some tips on training.

Get Good Shoes

Before you even think about running you are going to need good shoes.  It can’t be stressed enough how important good running shoes are.  Good running shoes aren’t cheap but it is the best investment you will make.  You don’t need trendy colors and styles but you do need something comfortable that will give you the support that you need.

Define Your Goals

Your first and most important goal is to cross that finish line, especially for the first time runner.  Don’t worry about winning or what other competitors are doing, don’t spend too much energy worrying about your time either.  You’re only goal for the first race is to finish.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

If you are working with a trainer or coach then they will help you map out a training plan.  No matter how good the training plan is it is not going to work unless you stick to it.  There will be days where you don’t feel like running, plenty of them.  The difference is going to be how you handle these days, push through it and get the work done.  That is how you will make it across the finish line.  These races are as much about mental training as it is about training your body.

Running for Weight Loss

Running for Weight Loss

Part of being healthy is maintaining a healthy weight, in order to get to a healthy weight you need to exercise. Running is a great workout that keeps you fit and helps you take off excess weight quickly and in a healthy manner. Running is a high intensity cardio workout that works almost all of your muscle groups and will help to boost your metabolism. Running for weight loss is how many people start their running journey, here is how you can get started.

1. Make your exercise more intense. Walking is great for you but if you want to get in a good cardio workout that will take off the weight then you are going to need to run. Start off with a 15 minute run, but run for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time you are running until you can make the entire 15 minute run.

2. Always warm up and cool down after. Start off with a walk and then increase to a slow jog and gradually pick up the pace. As you near the end of your run, slow down the pace before you stop all together. After your run is over you’re going to need to do some stretches, here are some good stretches for after your run.

3. Keep it regular. You should try and run at least 3 or 4 times each week if you want to see results. The more intense the run, the more calories that you are going to burn. On average you are going to burn about a 100 calories for each mile you run. So that cheesecake is going to cost you! You should try and incorporate at least 25-30 miles of walking too every week. Use a pedometer to help you keep track.

4. Try running uphill. If you really want an intense workout then try running uphill. It takes more effort, thus burning more calories. Start off with a smaller slope that you can make it to the top. Work your way to more intense hills. Not only will this burn tons of calories it will help build muscles in your lower body and improve your metabolism.

5. Keep an eye on your heart rate. In order to have a cardio intense workout you need to get your heart pumping. For weight loss you want to be at maximum aerobic capacity so you can get a heart rate monitor or a smart watch. To find the maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 180 and that is where your heart rate should be.

Running in the Night

Running in the Night

Most running groups or organizations will discourage you from running in the night for safety reasons.  While the safety reasons are valid, for people who live in the city and work shift work it may be the only opportunity you have to run.  If you want to run at night you just need to take some extra precautions so that you can stay safe.  Bear in mind that running at night presents some problems you just won’t have in the daytime over and above looking out for your safety.  Let’s look at how you can run at night safely and still get in a good run.

Here are some guidelines for running at night:

  • Run against traffic. It is far easier to avoid getting hit by a car if the car can see you and you can easily see the car.  This is particularly important if you are running where there are no streetlights.
  • Wear bright colored clothing at night. White running gear is best, but yellow or bright orange works too.  Don’t wear black, navy blue, dark red or green at night.  Drivers won’t be able to see you, you will just blend into the background and if you can get reflective gear to make your clothing even brighter against headlights or streetlights
  • Stay behind vehicles at intersections. When a vehicle is stopped for a stop sign or a traffic light that doesn’t mean that the driver can see you.  Most drivers don’t expect to see joggers at night so they are not as cautious as they could be.  You need to be extra careful.
  • Leave the headphones at home. We all love running while listening to music, but it will impede your ability to hear traffic, car horns, voices and someone who may mean you harm.  Leave your headphones at home, if you insist on listening to music then keep the volume very low.
  • Wear a billed hat and clear glasses. When you are running at night it is harder to see, your hat will keep any potential branches or bushes from hitting you in the face.  Also when you run at night there are bugs, and lots of them.  Clear glasses will help keep the bugs out of your face and eyes.
  • Don’t run the same route.  If there are any potential predators watching you they won’t know which way you are going.  This can help prevent any attackers from hiding in the dark along your route.
  • Run with a friend if you can. There’s safety in having a friend with you in case something happens.

Running at night is a far different experience than running in the daytime so prepare yourself as best you can for any eventuality.  Always keep your safety foremost in your mind.  Now go enjoy your run!