A common knee pain in runners occurs on the outside of the knee. This is probably IT Band Syndrome.
The IT Band (or Iliotibial Band) is tissue that runs along the outside of the leg to just below the knee joint. The IT band helps to stabilize the knee. This can become irritated basically from overuse.
The overuses that can cause IT Band pain can be from several factors:
1. Overtraining. Some runners when they are training for a specific race, may increase their training (mileage or intensity) without allowing for enough rest in between hard work-outs.
2. Increasing mileage too quickly. This is usually seen in beginning runners. The rule of thumb is to not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. More than that can cause injury.
3. Increasing mileage too much, too soon after a layoff. Go back into your training gradually.
But, like Runner's Knee, this can be treated if caught early. First of all, cut down on your mileage. You also may want to avoid major hills, as this will aggravate it.
When you are finished with your run, make sure you ice. You don't need to go out and buy some fancy ice pack. Ice wrapped in a washcloth does a great job.
Another thing you can do to alleviate the pain is to do some leg lift exercises. This will help to strengthen your hips. Also, if you want, visit a massage therapist for some deep massage. (Something I like to do after long runs is to use a leg roller. It can be a little painful at first, but really helps!)
Doing hip exercises and keeping your outer hip muscles strong will help reduce your chance of getting IT Band injuries.
Also, while you are nursing your IT Band, ibuprofen can help the pain and keep any inflammation down. And, don't forget to make sure that you aren't putting too many miles on your shoes. Remember that the rule of thumb is 300-400 miles on a pair of shoes.
You have to be patient with IT Band pain. It will probably take longer to heal than Runner's Knee. Just remember to cut back on your mileage and ice, ice, ice.
As with all running - the important thing is to listen to your body. If it's telling you to cut back for a few days - it's alright. To me, it's better to cut a run short than to risk not being able to run.
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