Millions of people engage in running, jogging and walking as form of health exercise. Vigorous exercise has been found to have multiple health benefits including weight loss, prevention of heart disease, therapeutic for diabetes, and to decrease stress symptoms. Still others do these to compete in marathons and other sports events, get more inf. A common cause for emergencies and chronic pain experienced by health buffs and athletes engaged in these activities is knee injury.
The knee is hinge joint that helps propels the body in moving forward, backward, upward and laterally. It absorbs a lot of forces of movement during running, walking, jogging and jumping. Since it also aids in the support of the weight of the body during motion and at rest it is often exposed to the risk of overuse injuries. Although there are different types of injuries that can happen to the knee, overuse injury is most common to runners, joggers and marathon athletes. Other high impact sports that can strain the knee joints are badminton, volleyball, basketball, soccer and other activities that may involve constant running and jumping.
What are Overuse Knee Injuries?
Knee injury that results from constant use or repetitive motions such as running, especially in distance running or marathons are classified as overuse injuries. They are usually caused by structural or postural imbalances that predispose the knee to deal with unequal force distribution in the legs so that the stress is absorbed by one knee more than the other. After a long exposure to such stress the knee may suffer from a worn out knee cartilage which may cause extreme pain and limitation of movement.
What Risk Factors Influence Overuse Knee Injury?
Anatomic factors may influence unequal weight distribution or imbalance of forces on the knees such as:
- Unequal leg length
- Hip joint misalignment
- High arched feet
- Poor hamstring (thigh muscle) flexibility
- Greater body weight
Other non-anatomical factors that can influence knee injury in runners are:
- Long strides during running
- Greater weekly mileage
- Previous history of knee injury
How is Knee Pain Treated?
Overuse injuries may sometimes be difficult to treat because some factors such as those relating to a runner’s anatomy may be difficult to alter, such as the length of a leg or the foot curvature. However, some characteristics like body weight and stride length can definitely be improved.
- Maintaining a good body mass index (BMI), or overcoming obesity is important in decreasing the load which the knees have to bear during vigorous exercise.
- Walking, instead or running, may be beneficial in those with previous knee injuries.
- Exercises to strengthen the hamstring muscles and increase flexibility can help stabilize the knees.
- Using proper shoes for running, walking or jogging can help improve arch shape and comfort.
- Chronic knee pain may be treated with medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroidal injections and others, as prescribed by a physician
- Some may require surgery for cartilage repair
Despite the risks associated with running and other vigorous exercises, more benefits may be gained by an individual from exercise and sports activities. Proper training and caution must be observed to avoid knee injury, as well as other sports injuries, since these may sometimes become a cause for chronic pain.