Sunday, February 27, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Keep your feet pointed in the direction you are running: If your feet splay out to the side as you run, it could create knee pain while running any distance because you are torquing your knee with every foot strike. This will eventually over- stretch the medial ligaments and tendons of the knee and lead to pain and/or injury (medial meniscus tendonitis). You will feel it as a sharp pain on the inside (medial side) of your knee.
Here is what happens. If your feet splay out with every step, you will land on the outside edge of your heel and your ankle will collapse inward. This causes over-pronation and creates a torque in your lower leg that is equivalent to someone grabbing your ankle and twisting it to the outside almost 1800 times every 10 minutes! (That is the number of strides you will take with each leg if you run a 10-minute mile with a 36 inch stride.) It does not take very many miles of running this way for your knees to start feeling the stress. Running this way could eventually hyperextend the medial ligaments and tendons of your kneecap.
What to do: Learn to run with your feet pointed in the direction you are headed. But do not just point your foot forward. Rotate your entire leg inward towards your centerline until your feet are parallel and pointing forward. This will strengthen your adductors (the muscles that run along your inner thighs) and straighten out your legs. This allows your knees to hinge in the direction they were designed to, instead of twisting as they bend.
If your feet turn out, your heel will strike on the lateral side and your ankle will pronate as your ankle supports your weight. If your feet splay out a lot, it will probably feel like you are pigeon-toed when you try to point your feet forward. If that is the case, rotate your legs medially only as far as you can, without feeling discomfort. Increase the amount you rotate your legs inward in small increments over a number of weeks or months, to give the muscles, tendons, and fascia in your legs, feet, and knees time to adjust to the new direction of movement. Changing the biomechanics of your body takes time and persistence, but it is well worth it if you never have to deal with knee pain again.