We runners and cyclists spend a lot of time worrying about knee pain, particularly if a new twinge springs up that does not seem to go away on its own. I have covered major causes of knee pain in a previous post: https://runningyourbody.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/on-knee-pain/. It is important to address the causes of knee injury in order to heal the injury as quickly as possible, and prevent recurrence.
While there is no current evidence to support static stretching before a run, there is some evidence to support stretching after running. Certainly if muscles in the legs become chronically tight, they eventually lead to increased strain on the knee which can become problematic, thus stretching is indicated.
Here are 5 leg stretches to address common areas of tightness leading to knee pain. At this time I’m 5 months pregnant, so pardon the baby belly!
Place your foot onto a low peice of furniture such as a coffee table, your car bumper, or foot stool. Keep your knee straight, and your hips facing forward, and pull your toes up towards the ceiling. Hinge forward at the hips keeping your back straight, do not slump forward. Hold 30 seconds, repeat on both legs, and perform 3 sets.
Stand up tall and bring your heel towards your rear. Do not smash the heel in to your hip, maintain an inch away, and draw your knee down straight towards the ground. Keep your trunk up tall. Hold 30 seconds, repeat on both sides. Perform 3 sets.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
Back your knee up to a wall, and place your other leg directly in front of you, keeping your hips squared up. Try to sit up as tall as possible. Depending on how tight your hip flexors are, you may need to drop your chest and trunk down a bit. Hold 30 seconds, repeat on the other side, and perform 3 sets.
Lying on your back, bring your left ankle up and over the right knee and gently push the left knee away from you. Hold 30 seconds and repeat on both sides. Perform 3 sets.
Stagger your legs, bringing one heel in towards your groin, angling the other knee straight out. Draw your toes up towards the ceiling, hold 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg, perform 3 sets.
Have patience with your stretching, it takes time to create change in muscle tightness. Be diligent and results will come!
Make your day great!