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How to Be a Runner With Bad Knees


I made a mistake a couple of years ago. I thought I could rollerskate after not doing it for over 20 years and as you probably guessed, I fell several times. One of the times I fell, I unfortunately hurt one of my knees. There was a nice bruise there for several days and afterwards, my knee kept feeling like it was getting stuck and would ‘crack’. Although I have never had anyone officially diagnose my knee pain, it does cause me some issues with exercises like squats and running sometimes. This obviously isn’t the same as having a major knee injury, but I can relate to the feeling that your knee pain getting in the way of what you want to do in life. As a runner, I have had to figure out some ways to adapt to make running with a bad knee possible. Here are some tips on how to be a runner with bad knees.

Change your surface- Aim for softer surfaces for running on to lessen the impact your knees take. Consider not running on asphalt or concrete. Instead, try running on grass, wood chips or even dirt. Some high schools have softer tracks to run on and usually don’t mind the public using their facilities as long as you ask. Whatever surface it is, make sure not to do it after a rain. Wet surfaces could cause to slip around and injure yourself again.

Make sure you are stretching- Stretching is important for both before and after running for anyone but is especially important for those with injuries. Make sure you are not skipping warm ups or stretching time before hitting the track. In addition to stretching, make sure you do some strength training to support your knees and the muscles in your legs.

Be sure to listen to your body- When you have a past injury, or suffer from a chronic pain issue, it is especially important that you don’t ignore the signals your body is giving for exercise. Some days, you may just not be able to run as far or for as long. This Is disappointing, but you shouldn’t ignore your knees or you could risk further injury.

Get properly fitting shoes- Properly fitting shoes made specifically for running are going to be your best bet. Go to a store that specifies in running and have your shoes fitted properly as well as making them aware of your injury so they can suggest the perfect model for your needs.

Wear supportive gear if you need to- There are ways you can tape your knees and the joints supporting them to help add some extra support where you need it. Additionally, you should be wearing any supports your doctor recommends.

Be sure to follow a recovery routine- Recovery is an important step in the process of being a better runner with bad knees. Make sure you immediately ice your knees after running if your doctor suggests it.

I hope these tips were helpful for you. Please keep in mind I am not a doctor or medical professional,  though and you should always check with your doctor before starting any fitness routine, especially in relation to your unique injury.


Read more posts by Christine here.

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