Whether it’s the sharp pain from a prior injury or the dull ache of overuse, knee pain can be a debilitating condition for runners – both female and male. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common afflictions they suffer. Studies have shown the knee is the most commonly injured joint for runners, with one out of every four running injuries involving the knee.
Fortunately, there are ways for women to alleviate that all-too-familiar discomfort of knee pain – including choosing the best women’s running shoes for their needs.
Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
Two common causes of knee pain for runners are:
- Runner’s Knee – This occurs when the cartilage on the underside of the patella is irritated, and will often flare up during or after long runs. Those with overpronation or weak quads, hips and glutes are particularly vulnerable to this condition.
- Iliotibial band syndrome – This pain on the outside of the knee occurs due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, which is a band of connective tissue running from the hip to just below the knee.
Knee pain can also be caused by physical conditions and diseases such as osteoarthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, chondromalacia patella, and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many ways that women can treat and relieve the pain of runner’s knee and similar condition, but perhaps one of the simplest is to choose the best women’s running shoes for their body and running style.
Finding the Right Pair
A great way to find the best women’s running shoes is to be fitted by an expert in-store, but a rough rule is to choose shoes that feature:
- Good cushioning – This helps absorb the impact as you run, minimising the shock to the knees. Choosing well-cushioned footwear is particularly important if you often run on hard surfaces like roads and footpaths.
- Firm midsoles – A must if you suffer from overpronation, firm midsoles will help correct the inward rotation of the lower knee that can lead to knee strain.
- Orthotics – These also assist in the correction of overpronation by helping to realign the feet and the ankles, reduce inward rotation, and take the pressure off the knee.
Remember that knee pain can be different for everyone – occurring in different parts of the knee, flaring up for different reasons, and requiring different types of support. For example, someone with osteoarthritis will have a different experience than someone with a simple case of runner’s knee. It’s therefore a good idea to get professional advice on the best women’s running shoes for your particular situation.
Other Runner’s Knee Treatments
Other simple things you can do to relieve runner’s knee include:
- Stay fit with low-impact exercise while you rehabilitate the knee
- Strengthen the knees, quads and hips
- Improve your running technique
And of course, prevention is always better than a cure. As well as wearing the very best women’s running shoes, there are several simple stretches and exercises you can do before running to protect yourself, including prisoner squats and Bulgarian split squats.