If you're having knee pain, look up the chain! Andrew Fast DPT shares two hip exercises for runners...
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Pain while climbing stairs, after sitting too long, or while running downhill can have multiple causes. Sometimes, and often with runners, pain in the front of the knee is a result of coordination deficits and poor strength in the hip. Put differently, the better a person’s hip strength and control, the less risk of undue stress on the knee.
Two corrective exercises I often couple together are Fast Feet and Slider Sweeps. For best results, perform both exercises consecutively three times per week:
Fast Feet (shown at 0:45sec in video 30-45 reps, 2-3 sets, repeat on each side)
•With a moderate resistance band around ankles stand in front of a full-length mirror.
•Shift weight onto one leg.
•The standing leg should have a slight knee bend.
•Tap the right toe out to the side then back toward midline at a cadence similar to running.
•Maintain that slight knee bend on the standing knee the entire time.
As the raised foot steps out and resistance increases, focus on the standing knee cap in the mirror—it should not move side to side.
•Remove the ankle band and go right into Slider Sweeps
Slider Sweeps (shown at 1:38 in video;10-12 reps, 2-3 sets, repeat on each side)
•Stand on the one leg in front of a full-length mirror with the same slight knee bend as mentioned above.
•Place a furniture-mover, tupperware lid, or slider under the ball of the raised foot.
•Focusing on the standing knee cap in the mirror, perform a half circle sweep with the right leg, keeping the slider underneath the ball of your foot.
•This is finesse work, move slowly and with control.
Repeat the above sequence on the opposite leg.
Additional hip strengthening, like side lying hip abduction, single leg bridge, and lateral steps with band at ankles, are all a good supplement to the above exercises. Another potential cause for pain and tracking issues in the knee is tight hip flexors and quadriceps. Half kneeling hip flexor stretch is my go-to, holding three rounds of one minute on each side.
Photos and Video: © Tom Bear
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Fast is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.
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