You need to protect your knee while running outdoors or on a treadmill. We all know that running has great health benefits: it burns off calories, improves your cardiovascular system and keeps your body nicely toned. However, due to the high impact nature of running, it would be wise to minimize the risk of knee injuries. Your knees are the biggest and most complex joints in your body and support your entire weight. When you run on the treadmill, you greatly increase the forces that your knees have to deal with. Knee injuries can impact your daily life greatly, and the best thing is to prevent them from happening. Let’s take a look at what you can do to protect your knees while using the treadmill.
The Right Shoes
Choosing the right shoes for your feet is one of the most important ways to protect yourself from attracting knee injuries. There are different shoes for different runners; a good sports store can help you figure out if you’re an overpronator, an underpronator or a neutral pronator. Good shoes have a snug fit, are comfortably padded inside and dampen the impact when you run.
The Right Treadmill
Most modern treadmills have surfaces that cushion the impact when your feet touch the floor. Not every treadmill offers the same type and quality of impact absorption. Older treadmills often have surfaces that are so hard, they can lead to knee injury. If you have the option to choose your treadmill, make sure to test its feel. The best treadmill gives you the smoothest run with the least impact on your knees.
Running with cold muscles is a major cause of knee injuries. Before you start exercising full throttle, make sure you do a warm up and some dynamic stretching. This loosens up the muscles and tendons and gets the blood flowing, which will prevent injury.
Proper Running Form
The way you run greatly affects the forces your knees have to deal with. Proper running form minimizes the impact forces and maximizes stability. There are a few pointers you should always keep in mind. You should land on the ball of your foot, not your heel. You should never touch the floor in front of your center of gravity, since running is almost a forward falling motion. Do not overstretch your knees; you want to always keep them at least slightly bent. Ideally, you should let your running motion be evaluated by a running coach or a physiotherapist specialized in sports, but that might not always be possible.
Rest and Recovery
You need to give your body the time to rest and recover from the strains you put on it by running. A main cause of knee problems is overtraining. When you allow yourself too little time between runs, the tendons and muscles in and around your knee can get irritated and overstrained. To prevent injury, you should take a day off between runs. Make sure you listen to your body; if you feel knee pain after a run, give your body time to rest and recuperate.