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3 Quick Hacks to Immediately Fix Knee Pain When Running

Updated: Apr 2

Estimated read time: 1 minute & 58 seconds

Does your knee hurt when running?

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01| The "5-20 Rule"

Kind of sounds like we are talking algebra here, but actually we are talking about cadence. Cadence with running being how many steps per minute do you take.

180 steps per minute is often thrown out there as the optimal cadence for runners, but in actuality, anywhere from 150-180 steps per minute really can work depending on the person.

This is where the 5-20 Rule comes into play. Research studies using fancy force measuring tools have shown that by increasing your cadence by 5% you can decrease the force going back up through your legs by 20%.

If your cadence is less than 180, this is the first recommendation we make to runners as a possible way to immediately resolve your knee pain when running!

So break out the TI-89 calculator and do a little arithmetic for the sake of your knees!

02| Incorporate a Midfoot Strike

Another amazing quick hack that you have at your disposal when trying to continue your running when dealing with knee pain is to modify where your foot first touches when it hits the ground.

When out on your jog, your 2 options are heel striking or midfoot striking. Let's be clear right away... there isn't a "right or wrong" here. There are world class marathon runners that do both of these styles and operate just dandy. However, by the forces through our body do change depending on which style you use.

By switching to a midfoot strike you can move a significant amount of stress away from your knee joint. It is important to note here that the stress doesn't disappear, but rather it gets put on other structures. In this case, you will be putting additional stress on your calves and plantar fascia. Nothing wrong with stress, but consider reducing your training miles when switching techniques to give your body time to adapt.

03| "Run With Your Glutes"

As with most aches and pains in our bodies, we often need to look up or down the chain of body parts to find the true culprit... Running is no different.

As we are running, ideal technique would entail your belt line staying completely level throughout your entire stride. Very often a fault seen in runners is that when striking the ground with their foot, their hips will shift up on one side while the other side of the hip drops down.

This unideal position ultimately creates excessive stress on ALL of the joints from the hip down, including your knee.

A quick video analysis from behind can help you know if this is occurring, but regardless, a quick cue we often provide if you are dealing with this running fault is to "run with your glutes."

The goal of the cue is to help you recruit more glute activation while running so the stress is going through the muscles of your glutes, which will then keep your hips level, which will then put your knee in a more optimal position, which will then make your knees more happy when running 😊


Take home point...

  • Increase your cadence by 5% to reduce the stress on your knees by 20% when running.

  • Consider temporarily switching to a midfoot strike if you are normally a heel striker.

  • Don't just look at your knee... Make sure the hips are doing their fair share.


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Your Thrive HQ Team

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