With spring finally here, it’s time to talk about common injuries sustained with increased outdoor activities! Especially if you’ve been cooped up in the house over the winter and have the itch to hit the road running. Overuse injuries of the knees such as patellofemoral syndrome are common in the spring and early summer. Some key ways to avoid anterior knee pain associated with patellofemoral syndrome (also known as chondromalacia) include:
- Make sure your shoes aren’t past their expiration date! A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 500 miles. If you aren’t a regular runner and they’ve just been sitting in the closet for years, it’s probably time for a new pair sooner than that due to structural breakdown of the shoes themselves.
- Avoid running on the edges of the road where the pavement is crowned. Whenever possible (and only if there’s no traffic), run in the middle of the road or change sides regularly. This makes early mornings the best time to run when the traffic is the lightest.
- Softer surfaces are your best option, so choose the towpath over the road and the road over the sidewalk. The softer the surface, the less the force through the joints.
- Warm up before you hit the road. A few rounds of Sun Salutation 1 (what we begin every class with) is a great way to get limbered up, followed by a short walk. Taking the time for some static stretching at the completion of your run is a good idea too (like those in Stretch class).
- Build up your mileage slowly. No more than 10% increase per week is a good rule to follow. Start with just a mile or two and gradually increase. Doing a walk-run combo is a surefire way to keep injuries to a minimum, especially if you’re new to running.
Happy knees, happy running!