If you go out to the park during COVID-19 you will notice that there has been an increase in physical activity, whether that be running, cycling or other forms of physical activity. With this sudden increase in physical activity comes an increase in overload injuries.

A common injury seen in running is what athlete’s refer to as “Runner’s Knees”.

It is important to note that runner’s knee is not a clinical diagnosis, but a common term athletes use to describe knee pain caused by running. Commonly, injuries may include patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial pain syndrome. If pain does present itself during or after a run, athletes must be equipped with different strategies and self-treatment options to relieve pain symptoms.

Self-treatment can be split in 2 categories: self-myofascial release and strength. Below are some examples of exercises that may help to relieve pain or prevent common running injuries if they are implemented into running programs.

Self-Myofascial Release

Gluteal Muscles – Level 1

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Fold on leg over the opposite knee. Place the foam roller or trigger ball underneath the glute that has the foot off the ground. Perform small circular and back and forth movements, looking for areas that may be tight.

Perform for 30 seconds on each side.

Iliotibial band (ITB) – Level 1

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Level 2

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Lie on your side with the foam roller below the side of your mid-thigh. Bend the top leg and place your foot in front of the roller for support. Roll back and forth from the knees to the hips.

Perform for 30 seconds on each side. If the self-massage is too light, place both feet together with feet elevated off the ground.

Quadriceps – Level 1

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Level 2

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Lie on your front with the foam roller on the front of your mid-thighs, elbow on the ground to support your weight. Roll back and forth from the knees to the hips.

Perform for 30 seconds. If the self-massage is too light, place one ankle on top of the other and focus on rolling on the bottom leg, 30 seconds each side.

Hamstring  – Option 1: Supine Bent Knee Stretch

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

The Hamstring muscle is harder to roll. Lie on your back with legs straight. Bend one knee and interlock both hands to hug the back of the knee. Raise your foot to the ceiling with your toes pointing towards your head. You will feel a stretch in the mid belly of the hamstring.

Perform 15 repetitions on each side and focus on stretching a bit further each time.

Option 2: Trigger Ball Leg Extension

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Sit with good posture on a chair or bench high enough so that your feet are elevated off the ground. Place the trigger ball underneath the middle of your hamstring. Raise your foot the ceiling with your toes pointing up to the ceiling.

Perform 15 repetitions on each side and move the ball to different areas of the hamstring that may feel tight.

Gastrocnemius (Calves) – Level 1

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Level 2

Runners Warm Up
Exercises for Runners

Sit on the ground with the foam roller underneath the mid-shin. Use your hands to lift your bottom off the ground and roll back and forth from the knees to 2/3 of the way down your shin (staying on the muscle belly).

Perform for 30 seconds. If the self-massage is too light, place one ankle over the other and focus on the bottom leg first, then swap over. Perform for 30 seconds each side

Strength

Wall Sit

Exercises for Runners

Sit with your back flat against the wall. Ensure that your knees are stacked directly over your feet. Lower bottom down so that your hips are just above 90 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the ground but feel most of the wait transfer to the heels. Hold for 5 seconds and stand up.

Perform 10 repetitions. If the movement is too hard, lower yourself to 45 degrees. If the movement is too easy, try performing the same movement on one leg.

Glute Bridge

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Lie on the ground with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Place your arms across your shoulders. Push through your heels to lift your hips off the ground. Ensure that you tuck your hips under to avoid stress in the lower back. Pause at the top and feel the tension in your glutes and hamstring. Lower yourself back down.

Perform 20 repetitions. If this movement is too easy, you can perform the movement with a band around both knees or perform the movement on one leg.

Calf Raises

Exercises for Runners
Exercises for Runners

Stand facing the wall. Place both hand against the wall. Push up onto your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Ensure that you are focusing on pushing onto your first and second toe, avoiding rolling onto the third fourth and fifth toes. Also make sure that you are pushing upwards and not leaning into the wall. Pause at the top feeling tension in your calf muscles. Lower yourself back down.

Perform 10 repetitions. If the movement is too easy, perform the movement one leg at a time.

This Blog

Was written by Precision Athletica Exercise Physiologist and keen runner Justin Trang. Please keep in mind that these exercises are somewhat generic and aimed at giving you a good starting point in your pursuit of pain free running – it’s worth noting that they may not be suitable for every athlete with this problem.

Ultimately, we would highly recommend you getting an individual assessment in order to have a clear, in-depth look at the root causes of the pain that you are experiencing, and so that you can receive an individualised recovery program.

If you have any questions for Justin, please email them through to him, alternatively you can also book online consultations with Justin or any of the Precision Athletica team – this could be a great way to get help with your running, without you needing to leave your home!

Post COVID-19 restrictions, you can call us to arrange online or in person appointments with any of the Precision Athletica team: 02 9764 5787

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