Dear Medical Health Ministries,
I have been a runner for seven years and have never had any knee problems. Recently, I have been experiencing pain in my right knee after running for 20-30 minutes. My questions are how common are knee problems, is there something a person can do to prevent them and should I ignore this or schedule a time for a check up?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 4.1 million people seek medical care each year for a knee problem. Some knee problems result from cartilage wear such as occurs in osteoarthritis. Other problems result from injury such as a fall, twisting the upper body while the foot is planted, and movements that strain the knee beyond its normal range.
Some knee problems, such as those resulting from an accident, cannot be foreseen or prevented however, a person can prevent many knee problems by following these suggestions:
1. First warm up by walking or riding a stationary bicycle, then do stretches before exercising or participating in sports. Stretching the quadriceps muscles along with the hamstrings reduces tension on the tendons and relieves pressure on the knee during activity.
2. Strengthen the leg muscles by doing specific exercises such as slowly walking backwards up and down stairs (while holding onto the railing), walking hills, or by riding a bicycle.
3. Utilizing weights to strengthen the quadriceps can also help.
4. Avoid sudden changes in the intensity of exercise.
5. Wear shoes that both fit properly and are in good condition to help maintain balance and leg alignment when walking or running. Knee problems may be caused by fallen arches, weak ankles that overpronate, and flat feet. Orthotics can reduce the effects of some of these problems, along with intrinsic foot and ankle exercises.
6. Maintain appropriate weight to reduce stress on the knee. Obesity increases the risk of degenerative arthritis of the knee.
Whenever a person develops knee pain as the result of a sporting activity, they should avoid the
offending activity. There is no replacement for resting for a period of time. When resuming
activities, do it gradually