In this article, we are going to dive into the top 5 causes of sore knees after running to help you try and identify what might be causing your pain. We will focus on:
- Running form
- Muscle weakness and imbalance
- Footwear and mechanics
- Recovery and preparation.
Before we discuss some of the root causes for sore knees after running we need to look at how the body mechanics work, specifically the myofascial muscle chains.
The human body has around 600 muscles, however, these muscles are linked together into a multitude of muscle chains that allow the body to move and be stabilised.
When you have an injury, muscle weakness or gait imbalance this can have an impact further up the chain. So it is not uncommon for someone to have a tight calf but a painful knee. This can also happen on the opposite side, with a tight left calf and a painful right knee.
To read more about Myofascial Muscle chains just click the button below to follow the link.
Running too much or too frequently can overstress the knees and joints, causing pain and inflammation. The repetitive motion of the knees during running might overwork the muscles and tendons. Due to the increased strain on the knees caused by this misuse, discomfort may result. When starting a new jogging routine, runners shouldn't push themselves too hard because this can overwork their muscles. Run distance and intensity should be progressively increased to allow the body to adjust to the new level of exertion.
Actions: Review your running schedule and try to find some balance in your sessions. If you are running frequently try substituting one of the days for another activity such as gym work, cycling or swimming. Equally, it is important to implement a recovery plan to help your body recover, you can read more about this further down the page or by checking out the Golden Hour of Recovery.
If you are starting a new program, returning from injury or introducing a new training schedule like hill sprints then you need to ensure that this is done gradually and supported by strength work. Try integrating 2 days a week in the gym or doing bodyweight exercises to improve lower limb strength and trunk control.
This can occur in runners as a result of biomechanics or fatigue towards the end of a run. The increased stress on the knee joint caused by poor running form this can cause sore knees after running. Overstriding, which occurs when a runner takes a stride that is excessively lengthy, and heel-toe striking, which places an excessive amount of force on the knee joint and causes pain, are two examples of poor form. Incorrect lower body alignment brought on by poor form might put additional strain on the knee joint. The running technique should emphasise a midfoot strike, where the foot lands precisely beneath the torso. This lessens the impact on the knees and keeps them in the right position. Also, since a shorter stride puts less strain on the knee joint, runners should aim for it.
Actions: You should concentrate on developing their knee-supporting muscles, particularly their quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings since this can lessen the strain on the joint. you should also focus more towards a shorter stride landing on the midfoot instead of the heel. Running on softer terrain can help to lessen the impact on the joint but be cautious as it will be softer and less stable underfoot.
Muscle weakness or imbalance
Weak muscles can happen due to injury or an imbalance in your running form and can result in sore knees after running. First off, weakened muscles are unable to withstand the shock of running's impact. As a result, the knees may absorb the majority of the impact, resulting in hurt and discomfort. Moreover, poor running form might result from weak muscles. This might put more strain on the knee joints, which would make the pain and discomfort worse. Strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, as well as stretching and foam rolling before and after running, can help reduce pain and discomfort in the knees.
Actions: The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves need to be strong in order to avoid aching knees during running. By making these muscles stronger, you can lessen the strain on your knee joints and better withstand the impact of running.
Old or incorrect running shoes
Wearing old or using improper running shoes can cause sore knees after running. Running shoes are primarily designed to support and cushion the feet and legs, especially the knees. Running shoes that are not particularly made for the runner's foot type and running technique can cause weariness and soreness in the feet, legs, and knees. Second, the cushioning that aids in absorbing the stress of running can be greatly reduced over time when running shoes deteriorate. This implies that jogging without enough cushioning will cause the knees to absorb a greater portion of the impact, which might cause knee pain.
The incorrect running shoes can lead to an imbalance in how the feet strike the ground when running, which can lead to the knees being out of place and hurting. For instance, wearing the incorrect shoes can cause a runner with a flat foot to have their feet roll inward excessively, which can result in aching knees. Last but not least, wearing running shoes that are too small or huge can let the feet slide around, which can result in knee pain and another imbalance in how the feet land on the ground. In order to avoid aching knees after running, it is crucial for runners to invest in the right running shoes for their foot type and running style.
Actions: Make sure that you are wearing the correct footwear for your mechanics and gait. You can have this reviewed at a running shop or use over-the-counter orthotics. You should also replace running shoes every few hundred miles, as the cushioning and support from the shoes decreases with time.
Recovery and preparation.
Every physical exercise must allow for recovery time since it enables the body to regenerate and heal torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This is crucial during running because repeated impact can harm the knees, hips, and ankles. Insufficient recovery time gives the body inadequate time to restore itself, resulting in soreness and pain. Knee pain after daily jogging might also be caused by inadequate healing regimens.
insufficient recovery time and poor recovery protocols are two of the main causes of sore knees after running every day. To ensure proper recovery, it is important to include adequate rest, proper nutrition and hydration, and proper form while running.
Applying heat before you go out running is an excellent way to reduce sore knees after running by warming up the structures of the knee. Heat can be applied with the Riixo Knee cuff or by using a hot water bottle. This will stimulate blood flow into the area ensuring that there is enough oxygen and nutrients to the muscles as well as improving the elasticity of the muscles and tendons.
Actions: Start to implement a recovery protocol to your training to make sure that your body is able to repair itself ready for the next session. Read The Golden Hour of Recovery to learn about some simple steps you can take to improve your recovery protocols.
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