Running is a great way to keep active, improve your fitness, and manage your mental health. However, a common complaint from runners is knee pain when running long distance, with up to half of all running injuries being in the knee. While not all knee pain has the same cause, the unfortunate truth is that it can make running uncomfortable or impossible.
If you struggle with knee pain when running long distances, it’s important to consider the cause and take positive action to prevent long-term discomfort or injury.
Consider the Cause
If you’re already experiencing knee pain while running, the first step in preventing future discomfort is identifying where it’s coming from. The knee joint is a complicated structure of tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscle surrounding the bone. As it gets a lot of wear and tear from the repetitive motion of running, there are many possible causes of knee pain.
Here are some of the most common causes of knee pain when running long distance. Please keep in mind that we are not doctors, and we recommend seeking medical advice from a physician if your knee pain persists to ensure you find the correct management and treatment plan.
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in the United States, and its prevalence increases with age. In fact, it affects at least 19% of American adults aged 45 and older. Symptoms include stiffness, swelling, and pain that is exacerbated by running, walking, or even weather changes. Osteoarthritis can get progressively worse over time, so proper management by a doctor is key.
If you’ve ever played competitive sports or been in a car accident, you may have an old injury such as a torn ligament or degenerated meniscus. These old injuries may hurt randomly and will likely hurt even more while running. Old injuries can often be managed with added flexibility and strength training and/or by wearing a knee brace.
Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury found in athletes caused by repeated stress on the tendon between your kneecap and your shinbone. It’s often caused by jumping and running but can be exacerbated by a long day spent on your feet. To prevent overuse injuries and knee pain when running long distance, consider a training plan that includes strength, flexibility, and only marginal increases in mileage.
So How Can You Prevent Knee Pain While Running?
While the causes of knee pain may be varied, there’s no doubt that it can be a hindrance to your running performance. Here’s how to help prevent and manage knee pain while running long distances.
Wear a Knee Brace
A knee brace is an inexpensive option to help support your knee while you run and even when you’re just walking around. A brace helps to shift the load within your knee joint, making it a great choice if you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with a chronic condition like osteoarthritis. Note that a knee brace isn’t a fix-all solution, as you don’t want to become dependent on it for knee strength and stability.
Go Easier on Yourself
It can be tempting to push yourself to your limit during every workout or on the job, and many trainers and bosses even encourage this. However, knee pain is a signal from your body to slow down. Managing knee pain often means taking breaks at work or on the track, trying shorter workouts, or cutting back your training load. Consult a physician for medical advice and to obtain a doctor’s note if you need it for work. Remember, preserving your ability to work and run without pain is not wimpy - it’s a strategy to improve your longevity and mobility!
Try Higher-Quality Socks and Shoes
One of the most simple factors affecting your comfort when running is what you wear on your feet. Shoes with poor arch support or the wrong amount or type of cushioning can negatively affect your form, which can irritate your knees. Poorly-fitting socks that slide around or need to be adjusted frequently can do the same and are such a simple fix. Consider investing in better shoes, quality inserts, and/or high-quality socks that support your feet, encourage the correct technique, and prevent knee pain when running long distance.
Take Better Care of Yourself With Quality Socks
When it comes to the proper running gear, Fitsok is your solution for high-quality socks engineered for athletes. Whether you’re at work or working out, Fitsok provides comfortable, breathable socks in technical fabrics that stay put. Your feet will stay supported and blister-free, allowing you to run without exacerbating any knee pain.Knee pain when running long distance is a hindrance to any fitness plan, but the right gear can help you stay pain-free. Take control of your health with Fitsok’s range of men’s and women’s athletic socks, and have some fun with their range of colors and styles. Fitsok helps you preserve the health of your knees, mile after mile.