There are many ways to prevent runner's knee and any potential knee related injuries by taking certain precautions to run safely. The knee is one of the larger joints in the body, made up of leg bones (tibia and femur), ligaments, tendons and meniscus (cartilage padding). The patella, that bony plate we touch when we refer to the knee, sits atop the joint like a piece of steel armor. The knee has low vascular blood flow, relying mainly on the synovial fluid inside its sac to keep the knee limber, strong and fluid. Stretching, massage and using a foam roller are three excellent ways to avoid runner's knee.
By far, stretching before a run is one of the most important habits to maintain. Getting the blood to the muscles is essential to optimal performance. The best types of stretches for the knee are as follows:
*Note: all stretches should be done bilaterally (both sides) 5 times each and held for 30 seconds.
- The Iliotibial Band Stretch: The IT band is that tight, grisly feeling muscle on the lateral (outside) of the thigh. To stretch it, stand upright, grab onto something strong like a desk directly in front of you, cross one leg over the other leg, bend at the waist and the knees and as if you were a speed skater, let the leg behind you slide, passing behind the other leg, into a straight knee extension. Gently lean toward the extended leg.
- The Quad Stretch: Grab the ankle, support yourself on a counter or tree, bend the leg behind you and gently pull. Go as far as you can go without hurting yourself.
- Hamstring S