A very common problem for runners is weakness or a lack of control in the gluteals, which may lead to altered mechanics in the lower limbs, causing the arches of the feet to fall and the knees to become ‘knocked’. This can result in tightness of the iliotibial band (ITB), which runs down the side of the thigh and connects into the knee, and also pain in and around the knee.
We’ve suggested some basic exercises and stretches below which can help you to strengthen and release the necessary muscles.
There is a lot of debate over whether to stretch before exercise or not. If you want to stretch before running, make sure that you do a light jog for 5-10 minutes before attempting any stretches to make sure the muscles are warmed up. You may be more likely to pull something if you go in to a full stretch with cold muscles! Do always make sure that you stretch out your muscles after running to avoid them tightening up and maintain optimal muscle length.
Lower limb strengthening exercises
Many runners tend to suffer from injuries, such as runners knee or shin splints because they are simply doing too much running, or increase their training intensity and distance too soon. We’d strongly advise that you incorporate some cross training into your running programme to avoid this. Swimming, cycling and using a cross training machine are all excellent for maintaining your cardiovascular capacity without the high impact of running. It’s also good to build in some strength training using weights or resistance work, core stability (such as Pilates) and flexibility (yoga or stretch classes).
Lower limb stretches
For a full running assessment and an exercise plan tailored to your individual biomechanics and goals, book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.