More and more scientific evidence proves that running keeps you healthy, but the way you’re running is important too. Running may seem extremely simple, but if you’re not doing it the right way then you could be hurting your knees in the long run.
According to a recent report published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, up to 56% of runners experience overuse injuries like shin splints and knee aches each year and the way you run could be the culprit. Runners who first strike the ground with their forefeet experience fewer knee injuries than their heel-striking counterparts, the study found.
16% less pressure on the lower knee is caused when landing on the ball of your foot. If you land on the rear of your foot, you mainly use the knee-joint as an energy absorber which causes a higher rate of injury.
With that, changing your running form doesn’t happen over night. It could take anywhere from eight weeks to six months, but there are simple ways to do so: you can try taking smaller, quicker steps to reduce the force of impact on your knee.
For added protection, strengthening the gluteus medius muscles (the muscles on the side of your hips) can help significantly. “These muscles are responsible for stabilizing knees and hips when you’re balancing on one foot—which is what happens with each footfall when you run.” If they aren’t strong, other muscles need to compensate which leads to injury.