So, you like to run. Great!

Running is good for you. Awesome!

And then you experience pain. Not. Good. At. All.

Have you been doing exercises to strengthen your hips and glutes, as well as stretching regularly?

If you haven’t done either, it’s time to start- right now!

What are you waiting for?

You. Can. Do. It.

Our civilized, modern society often has us walking in positive heels- simply meaning, most shoes place a lift beneath the heel of your foot at all times. Even sneakers have a positive heel. Furthermore, we frequently walk on even and hard surfaces. In addition to this distortion of natural foot positioning, we spend the majority of our time sitting- this places our knees and hips in 90 degree flexion. These unnatural positions have pulled many knee caps out of their patellar grooves laterally to the side where bony surface meets bony surface. Ouch!

Here are a few helpful adjustments that don’t require a lot of time or equipment and can be done throughout the day. Ideally one should perform these movements barefoot.

1)  Rotate your bones. [2 sets of 6-12 reps]

  • Stand up straight with ankles, knees, and hips stacked and rotate your femur (thigh bone) inward, while rotating the fibula and tibula (shin bones) outward.

2)  Dance, Patella, Dance.  [2 sets of 6-12 reps]

  • Stand in front of a mirror with bare legs.
  • Observe your knee caps.
  • Tighten your quadriceps, release, (relaxed knee cap).
  • Repeat.

3)  Strap Stretch. [30 second holds]

kneestrap

  • Lie on your back.
  • Rest the right leg on the ground, lift the left leg and wrap a strap around one foot.
  • Pull the foot down to a 90 degree angle.
  • Fully extend the knee.
  • Slowly rotate the thigh out – your foot should be pointing off to the side- before you bring the leg across.
  • Repeat.
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4)  Terminal knee extension – closed chain.  [2 sets of 6-12 reps]

terminalkneeextension

  • Affix a resistance band on to a pole at knee height.
  • Step inside the loop with one leg.
  • Bring the band behind the bend knee. There should be tension on the band.
  • Make sure your foot and knee are aligned.
  • Your foot should be firmly planted, the heel should not rise when extending the knee working against the resistance.
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5)  Medicine Ball Squeeze.  [2 sets of 5 holds]

medicineball

This will target your vastus medialis muscles, which are responsible for pulling the patella back to the center away from it’s lateral home (where it shouldn’t be).

  • Sit on a surface high enough that your legs dangle/clear the ground.
  • Squeeze a medicine ball between your legs. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat.

Caution: Don’t do this one if you have lower back pain.

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6)  Kettlebell Knee Extension – Open Chain. [2 sets of 3-6 reps]
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Please wear sneakers for this one.
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kettlebell

  • Lift a 9lb kettlebell off the ground with your foot, your knee should be in 90 degree flexion and your thigh should be parallel to the ground.
  • Perform 3-6 knee extensions.
  • Lower the kettlebell down to the ground with control.
  • Repeat on the other side.

This is an advanced exercise!

In addition to these exercises and stretches, you may also need to buy yourself a foam roller. Start foam rolling your IT Bands, peroneals, and yes, even your calves- these all can affect your knees!

It’s fun to be pain free. Remember, the time is now.