One of the most common injuries in runners happens to be runner’s knee, which is caused from poor neuromuscular control and weakness. As the weather warms up, Dr. Robert Marx, Orthopedic Surgeon, offers helpful tips for preventing runner’s knee.
- Stretch: Before running, make sure to do a light warm-up followed by some stretching. Important muscle groups to stretch include the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Contracting the opposite muscle group intermittently while stretching improves the ability to stretch the muscle, such as contracting the quadriceps intermittently while stretching to hamstrings.
- Strengthen: Cross training with strengthening is very important. Particularly, plyometric strength, which involves jumping or explosive movements, is beneficial and can also contribute to injury prevention. Light weight training twice a week for as little as 10 to 15 minutes including exercises such as squats, lunges, leg press and farmers walk can be very helpful.
- Cold Therapy: Icing sore body parts after a run is essential. An ice bath can also prevent post exercise soreness. Sitting in frigid water for 5 or 10 minutes or longer if tolerable is used by many professional athletes. Check with your doctor before attempting this and be ready for a cold experience!
- Don’t just run: Especially if you are injury prone, it is wise to mix in other cardio instead of runs a few times a week. Cycling, elliptical, circuit training in the gym or swimming are good choices.
- Stay hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated for optimal muscle function and health. Make sure to have a tall glass of water before the run and immediately after. If taking a long run, make sure to hydrate the day before and avoid alcohol.
Dr. Robert Marx is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. He does arthroscopic and open procedures for knee and shoulder problems as well as knee and shoulder joint replacement surgery. Dr. Marx also performs complex and revision surgical cases.