Did you know that as many as half the lower extremity injuries associated with running, occur in the knee, according to research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Medically know as, Patellofemoral pain syndrome but for many of us, “runner’s knee" is commonly cited by the National Institutes of Health as the most common running injury.
As you read below, here are some exercises to help you prevent runner's knee using only your body weight as resistance. For more exercises, check out more here.
HIP STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
On all fours, support your weight with your knees and hands on the floor. Lift your right knee directly to the side, keeping it flexed at 90 degrees. Bring it back to the original position, repeat 15 times and switch sides.
SIDE LEG LIFTS
Lie on your right side with your legs straight and stacked on top of each other. You can rest your head on top of your right arm and put your left hand on your hip or on the ground to help balance your body. Lift the top leg straight up as far as is comfortable and lower back down. Repeat 10 times, and switch sides.
Lie on your back on the ground with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your backside off the ground until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Push your heels into the ground, and feel your glutes stabilizing your body. Hold for two seconds, lower your body back down and repeat 10 times.
Lie on your right side with your knees bent on top of each other and your right arm under your head to support it. Keeping your feet together, open the clamshell by lifting your top knee up. While your hips will rotate during this exercise, your pelvis and core should remain stable. Close the clamshell, repeat 15 times and switch sides.
While on all fours, raise your right hand and left knee off the ground. Extend your right arm out in front of your body and your left leg out behind your body. Hold for 2 seconds before bringing your right hand and left knee together under your body. Repeat the motion 10–15 times, and switch sides.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a chair or sturdy post to the left of your body. Loop a resistance band around the chair or post and your right ankle. Keeping your leg straight, raise your right leg sideways as far as possible. Return to the original position, repeat 8–10 times and switch sides.
HIP FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY EXERCISES
Start with forward leg swings by standing next to a wall for balance, and swing your right leg forward out in front of your body and then back behind your body. Keep your leg straight as you do this, and avoid swinging past the point of comfort. After repeating with both legs, switch to the sideways variety. Similar to forward leg swings, simply swing the right leg toward the left, sweeping your foot across the front or your body and then back to the right. Repeat for 10- 15 leg swings in each direction on each leg.
IT BAND FOAM ROLLING
While on your side, place your hip on the top of the foam roller just below the hip joint. Stack your legs, and use your hands to stabilize your body. Slowly roll down toward your knee, stopping before the roller reaches the knee and then roll back up. Repeat 5–10 times, and switch sides.