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Pain with Downhill Running

Oh my knees!

If you do a lot of running, you’ve probably experienced some sort of knee pain at one point or another. There can be lots of reasons why your knees hurt…Soft tissue restrictions, joint irritation, spinal alignment, or strength and stability to name a few. Often it may be a hip or ankle issue that is contributing to your pain. It’s a good idea to get your whole body checked out and even assess your running form to make sure you address the route of the problem rather than the site of the pain.

If I find a patient has a stability issue, a good exercise to begin with is a mini squat with your heel elevated. Having your feet in an elevated position will mimic the position your foot is in as you are running downhill. I like to start patients with both heels elevated and have them bend to about 20 degrees (or in a pain-free range). Start first with 2 sets of 15-20 daily, then progress to 1 leg at a time to make it more challenging. Running is an endurance sport, so higher reps with good form are key.

As always, consult your Primary Care Physician with any conditions you are concerned about and exercise in a pain-free range.