WHY DOES MY KNEE ACHE?

Runner's World (UK) - - BODY+MIND -

FORM FLAWS

Willy says hip ad­duc­tion – when the thigh moves in­ward from the hip mid­stride, caus­ing a knock-kneed ef­fect – is one of the most com­mon sources of biome­chan­i­cal-re­lated knee pain. Over­strid­ing is an­other.

MUS­CLE IM­BAL­ANCES

This is re­lated to biome­chan­ics, since mus­cle im­bal­ances can cause poor biome­chan­ics and, con­versely, poor biome­chan­ics can re­sult in im­bal­anced mus­cle de­vel­op­ment. If you can’t do a sin­gle-leg squat with­out wob­bling or hav­ing your knee dive in or out at a steep an­gle, you may have some glute or hip weak­nesses, says Keith Spain, a sports medicine spe­cial­ist.

GE­NET­ICS

Spain says that arthri­tis has a ge­netic com­po­nent. ‘If your par­ents had arthri­tis, you’re more likely to have it,’ he says. And while age is a fac­tor, Spain says that get­ting old doesn't nec­es­sar­ily mean you’ll get arthri­tis.

GEN­DER

Women are twice as likely to re­port knee pain as men, says Willy. But re­searchers aren’t sure why. ‘The hy­poth­e­sis has been that women’s lower ex­trem­ity align­ment places the knee in a po­si­tion where it’s more sus­cep­ti­ble to in­jury,’ says Pa­que­tte. ‘I think there’s more to it than that.’ He points out that sub­tle dif­fer­ences in women’s con­nec­tive-tis­sue makeup may also play a role.

UN­KNOWN FAC­TORS

Pain is some­thing re­searchers are still work­ing to bet­ter un­der­stand, says Willy, adding that joint-re­lated pain seems to be in­di­vid­ual. ‘Two run­ners with the same biome­chan­ics can go through the same train­ing pro­gramme, and one gets in­jured but the other does not,’ he says. ‘ We re­ally don’t know ex­actly why that hap­pens.’ He says that vari­ables such as sleep qual­ity, nu­tri­tion and even psy­choso­cial fac­tors – such as fear of get­ting in­jured – may con­trib­ute.

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