Knee Injuries

Running outdoors in the winter presents unique challenges due to the cold, snow and ice, and shorter daylight hours.  Many prefer to endure the elements versus running indoors on a treadmill.  Due to the elements, there is an increased risk of running related injuries and one of the more common is knee injuries.  However, such injuries are common among runners throughout the year.  Simple knee sprain is often self-limiting after a period of rest and ice therapy.  More serious injuries such as tears to the meniscus, ACL, or MCL can occur as well.  Another common condition is runner’s knee – when the patella is not tracking properly with activity.  Iliotibial (IT) band and patellar tendinopathy are included in the list of common knee issues due to running.  

The upside is running knee problems are neither inevitable or untreatable.  It has been found that more experienced runners are less likely to suffer injury.  The reason is likely the ability to listen to their bodies and make changes during training to avoid overuse conditions which makes the area more susceptible to injury.  In addition, proper strength training, body mechanics, and shoe choice all play a role as well.  When viewed in isolation, the specific area of injury might be thought of in simple terms.  But the abnormal biomechanical pattern that precedes the injury is a complex puzzle that takes an expert to identify.   

There are a few simple steps to follow to help avoid common running knee injuries.  The first is to have a proper fitting shoe and replace it regularly, typically every 300-500 miles.  Ideally, find a shoe store that specializes in running assessments and then they can suggest the shoes that have the proper support for your body mechanics.  Another easy but often overlooked preventative measure is stretching.  Proper stretching is recommended and even more important before running outside in cold weather to increase blood flow and loosen the muscles.  Third, do not over train which increases the likelihood of overuse injuries.  Supplement with cross-training activities that enhance cardiovascular fitness while allowing recovery from the hard impact of running.  Finally, proper diet and nutrition is needed to maintain healthy joints.  

The board-certified physicians at The Sports Medicine and Regenerative Therapeutics Institute (SMaRT) are available to assess your condition and will work toward solutions that not only heal the current injury but work toward preventing future injury.  Our nutritionist is passionate about helping educate and motivate you toward a healthy lifestyle.  In addition to traditional medical care, The SMaRT Institute specializes in regenerative medicine, utilizing PRP and Stem Cells in addition to other biologics that expedite healing to allow for a faster return to normal activities.  The procedures are performed in the office with local anesthetic and ultrasound guidance.  Not all conditions require an injection.  We are currently offering 10% off to CARA members for non-covered procedures.  Please visit or call us at 630-922-5071.