Most runners will experience knee pain at some point. Whether it’s new shoes, too much pounding the pavement, or a pronating stride, knee pain is a little bother that sneaks up on runners and can turn into a big problem over time. But I have good news to share!
A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine shows that knee pain may reduced by strengthening the hips. In the pilot study, Indiana University researchers tested 9 female runners who had knee pain scored at 7, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst. For 6 weeks, the female runners took part in hip strengthening exercises, including single leg squats and exercises using resistance tubes. By the end of the 6 weeks, all runners reported knee pain at 2 or lower. Researchers believe that increased hip strength may help align your body while your running, which helps take strain off the knee and decrease the residual pain.
This study may be too small and too preliminary to really be significant, but it gives hope to runners everywhere. So if you’re a runner or any endurance athlete who is experiencing pain behind the kneecap, try adding a few squats and other hip strengthening exercises to your routine. It’s worth a shot!