Throbbing pain is in fact, not an uncommon problem for many people. There are some people who are not runners but unfortunately, experience knee pain every time they are running. While the exercise is beneficial, it often triggers more severe knee pain compared to regular walking.
Risk factors of knee pain during running
There are two major categories that may trigger the occurrence of painful sensation during running, even though you are not a frequent runner. These risk factors generally include behavioral and physiological ones. To elaborate, the followings are possible explanation about each risk factor triggering throbbing, burning, or tingling sensation around the knee and knee cap while you are running.
Improper training techniques
Although you are not a professional runner and might only do the exercise occasionally, you need to put in mind that improper exercising techniques while running can end up causing pain on the involved knees. Some common training errors associated to knee pain include:
Doing too much exercises too soon
Knees consist of muscles, cartilages, and bones that need to be introduced to any training gradually before being involved in heavy running. Do not push yourself too hard in doing any physical training. Get yourself accustomed to the training first before doing excessive running exercise.
Inconsistent running style
If you are accustomed to light running or jogging, but need to change it into a sprint activity, avoid do it suddenly. During one or few running sessions, it is important to gradually introduce your body to any kind of running style you are going to do next. Do this slowly and avoid changing too many running style within one-time exercise.
There are some types of running surfaces that may aggravate your knee pain. Smooth, level surface is an ideal running surface, but sometimes you may be required to do the exercise by running uphill or downhill, and this may cause more intense knee pain.
Lack of variety of exercises
Although running is advised for improving your health, it is important to involve other kinds of exercises, such as stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular ones. Doing merely running will likely to cause knee overuse and may cause tear and wear on its cartilage, causing pain you are experiencing during the exercise.
- Excessive body weight has a significant role in causing knee pain that may occur even when you are doing ordinary activities, such as walking. However, activities like running and stair climbing put the knee into a risk of severe pain in people with obesity. Being overweight increases the stress on your knee joints, causing discomfort and pain whenever the knee is involved in activities requiring its strength. Extra fats coming from being obese decreases muscle strength and flexibility and thus, they do not support the bones properly and cannot absorb bumps sufficiently.
Biomechanical foot problem
- This is also a significant cause of knee pain felt during running. Foot position does vary between people and holds an important role when running. Ideally, when you are running, your heel hits the ground, transferring your body weight to the middle of the foot and spread to the toes.
- The most common biomechanical problem is that a runner’s foot arch remains flat, trigger the weight to go through the inside of the foot, causing the ankle to roll whenever you push off while running. As a result, instead of going through the middle of the foot to be transferred to the toes, body force goes through the knee and puts more force to the kneecap and joint, causing severe pain while you are running.
- Muscle weakness or tightness also affect the biomechanics of the leg and thus, has a significant role in causing knee pain while you are running.
Minimizing knee pain while running
Knee pain during running is not only uncomfortable, but may also indicate some problems with the knee that may lead to more severe disorders. In order to minimize any caused pain while running, some preventive methods can be done, which include:
- Do not build up your training carelessly. If for some reasons you need to increase your training, it is important to do it gradually. It is not advised to add either the running distance or length of time drastically, since it increases the risk of having knee pain problem significantly.
- Always provide time for warming up and cooling down during the training. To do proper training, there are some advised steps—stretching, strengthening, cardiovascular, and second stretching. It is important to combine these trainings, instead of do merely the running during your whole exercising time. You can start fast-walking before jogging or sprinting, and combine light running and moderate stair climbing before performing any cooling down activities.
- Invest for good footwear. Since the position of your feet is crucial for providing proper biomechanics of the foot, you are advised to wear only proper footwear providing good support for the feet. It is also important to change your sport footwear after certain period of use, since these footwear may start losing its ability to provide good support and shock-absorbing.
- Avoid overtraining. Whatever your purpose is, overtraining puts your knee into a tough task, causing deteriorated functions that instead of making you healthy, increase the risk of injury and severe pain when involved in running.