Best Knee Pain Care for Runners

A great recommendation on knee pain care for runners is not to take time off of running, but to maintain running in minimalist running shoes. Minimalist footwear is effective at treating sore knees from running by enabling the body to sense the ground more clearer as compared with cushioned running shoes. This heightened awareness of the ground triggers natural adjustments in leg stiffness according to surface type, which delivers less mechanical load on the knee.

  • minimalist running shoes sharpens foot-placement awareness by increasing sensory input at the foot -this is how leg stiffness is involuntarily adjusted by the central nervous system.
Knee Pain Care for Runners
Shoe cushioning has direct effects on the knee. Running shoes with minimal cushioning, such as the Vibram Fivefingers, enhances normal knee-joint function by allowing for a more stable foot strike

Knee Pain Care for Runners – Wear Minimalist Shoes

The inability to involuntarily adjust leg stiffness during running is a major contributor to runners knee.  And too much leg stiffness causes knee pain also.

Many heel strike runners have maximum knee extension at heel strike which in turn, increases knee stiffness.

  • maximum knee extension in heel strike running inhibits knee compliance/flexion thereby preventing optimal shock absorption and energy return

Cushioned Heeled Running Shoes Cause Heel Strike and Maximum Knee Extension

The elevated heel in most running shoes is  responsible for causing a runner to heel strike.

To avoid heel strike and prevent knee pain, switch to a minimalist shoe or graded barefoot running along with applying the conscious effort to land on the front part of your foot while maintaining softly, bent knees when running.

The take home message is that the benefits of a minimalist shoe outweigh running in well-cushioned footwear, but the greatest value of a minimalist shoe is they allow you to feel the ground and accommodate a natural, safer way to run to maintain healthy, happy knees.

More For You From Run Forefoot:

Run forefoot, because you are faster than you think!

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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