How to Prevent Knee Pain While Running - PRO Therapy
Dr. Kevin Spahr Health Tips

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How to Prevent Knee Pain While Running

a person bending over and holding their kneeSummertime is FINALLY here in Minnesota, and for a lot of us that means getting outside and getting active. And if you’re one of the many Minnesotans who run or who want to start running – preventing pain is key! 

Running is a fantastic exercise, but like any other high-impact activity it puts a lot of strain on your body. You may notice some knee pain starting to form as you begin regularly running. 

Pain isn’t fun – and we don’t want it to stop you from participating in an activity you love. 

Follow these three basic tips to help you prevent knee pain while running. These are core strategies that anyone can use, regardless of your running experience.

1. Choose the Right Shoes

Selecting the right running shoes is key for preventing pain and injury. Your running shoes align your feet, legs, and hips – and the wrong shoes align these in all the worst ways. Running is a repetitive action of weight distribution and if you’re distributing your weight in the wrong places, then you’re going to start experiencing pain. More often than not, you’ll feel it in your knees and hips before your feet. 

Not all sneakers are designed for running, and running shoes themselves aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each body is different and there are number of other factors to consider as well, like length of your run and on what surfaces. 

Your best bet? Go to a pro. Skip the big box retailers and find a running or sports store with employees that will help YOU get the best fit for YOUR body. Investing in the right shoes now will do wonders for preventing pain later. 

Another option to consider are custom foot orthotics to further support your shoes. These inserts are custom-designed for your body to ensure your weight is properly supported. 

➡ Read Now: Are YOU A Candidate For Custom Foot Orthotics?

2. Give Your Knees a Break from Running

Keep in mind the phrase “too much of a good thing.” Running is good for you…but running every day might not be.   

Yes, running is a fantastic exercise and you absolutely should continue the habit! However, it’s also an extremely repetitive action that can take a toll on your body. 

How do you prevent this? Mix up your routine to add in some other physical activity besides running. You might run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then try another activity on other days. Great options include: 

  • Swimming 
  • Biking 
  • Cycling 
  • Rollerblading  
  • Walking 

By mixing up your routine, you give your knees (and the rest of your body) a break from the exact same motions. This way, you’re still getting in good physical activity but avoiding excessive stress to your knees.

3. Engage in Strength and Plyometric Training

You’re probably already stretching before and after running (if you’re not, you need to start yesterday), but are you also engaging in strength training? 

Training your body through specific exercises can prevent knee pain in the future. Strength training focuses on building strength in your legs, while plyometric training (also known as jump training) helps load the muscles, tendons, and joints of your lower body to increase power and tolerance to more progressive dynamic activity such as running. 

When building a training routine, a good starting point is 1-3 times a week for 30-60 minutes per session. During this session you’ll perform exercises aimed at helping you build the strength and endurance needed for running. 

a chart of strength training exercises

➡ Read Now: Running Injuries: What Every Runner Should Be Doing to Prevent Them

Engaging in these training exercises will give your knees (and other joints) an extra boost to help prevent pain and injury. 

Final Thoughts

These tips can help you prevent knee pain, but the truth is you might still experience some pain even if you’re doing all of the above – and that’s perfectly normal. Our bodies are complex, and even when you’re doing everything “right” to prevent it, you might still experience some pain.  

If you’re dealing with knee pain from running, physical therapy is a great option to start the rehabilitation process to get you back to running.

Partnering with a one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy is going to help you avoid future pain and resolve current pain. 

Are you currently dealing with knee ache or pain and need help? Give us a call! We offer complimentary phone and in-person consultations. We aim to meet our patients wherever they are in their journey and answer all questions we can to ensure a smooth experience at PRO Therapy. We want to help you make the best decision for you!  

Download Now: 10 Quick, Simple Secrets to Erase Knee Pain and Stiffness 

Our FREE knee pain guide goes over the most common causes for knee pain and how to mitigate them – without taking painkillers or having to see a doctor! 


PRO Therapy is an Independently Owned Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinic. At PRO Therapy, we treat back, knee, neck/shoulder, ankle/foot, and hip pain as well as sports injuries, surgery rehabilitation, and anything else that’s causing you pain. We want everyone to have exceptional care, better access to care and be able to complete the activities in life that make them happy – free from a life of painkillers, injections, or surgeries

Liz Spahr

Liz Spahr

Liz Spahr, originally from Stillwater, MN resides in Coon Rapids with her husband, Dr. Spahr! They have one daughter (Millie) and two dogs (Mia and Ellie). Along with being Co-Owner of PRO Therapy, Liz utilizes her extensive Marketing background connecting with PRO’s patients via our website, email communications and social media platforms.
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