3 Simple Exercises to Prevent Knee Pain, Achilles Tendonitis, and Plantar Fasciitis

Running season is quickly approaching… and did you know that in one year, 79% of runners are injured?

The good news? Three of the most common running injuries have something in common. Development of knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis can all be correlated with weakness in the glutes and the pattern that your legs collapse into when the glutes aren’t doing their job. This is why your coaches are always saying “knees out.”

Easy Test to See if Your Glutes are Activating

Stand on one leg in front of a mirror and look at your knee. Squat or hop up and down a few times. As you move, watch to see if your knee stays lined up with your foot or if it “dances” all over the place or even just caves straight in toward your other knee. Does it move inward, outward, or back and forth, or are you able to control your knee in space as you land? If you find your knee wiggling and caving instead of staying steady, then it’s time to get your rear in gear. Because if it’s happening when you hop around, then it’s likely happening when you run.

Here are 3 quick exercises you can do at home or in the gym. For all exercises, focus on form and quality of the movement, and stop if any pain occurs. Perform these exercises to fatigue, and stop when you lose the proper form.

Clam Shell

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Lie on your side with knees bent, feet together. Roll slightly forward onto hip.

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Keep feet together while lifting top knee up, slowly lower. Avoid rolling body backwards as you lift leg, and avoid lifting leg too high. You should feel the back of your hip working, not the front. Return to the start position and repeat! Resistance bands are not needed for this exercise.

Side Steps with Band Around Ankles

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Unlock knees.

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Keep toes straight ahead while you take shoulder width steps sideways, keeping hips level. Be sure to land on flat foot vs inner or outer edge of foot.

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Do not allow knees to collapse inward as you take steps…keep window between knees open. Do not drag feet.

Backward Skates/ Zig Zags with Band Around Ankles

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Take the same starting position as the side steps above.

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Backward only. Keep toes straight ahead while you take diagonal steps backwards (at 45 degree angle).

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Switch feet but be sure to return your feet to the starting position between each step.

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Do not use toes to “reach” back for the ground, land with foot flat as during side steps.

If you have any questions or are curious to learn more, you are welcome to email Nicole at Nicole@HaasPT.com or find her in the gym.

Nicole Haas, PT, DPT, OCS is nationally recognized as an expert in running analysis and injury prevention. Dr. Haas teaches the running analysis and injury prevention course for the University of Colorado Physical Therapy program, and teaches an evidence and clinically based approach to treatment of runners to practicing physical therapists nationwide. See more at: http://www.crossfitsanitas.com/physical-therapy-in-boulder-at-crossfit-sanitas

To find out what you can do personally to avoid injury or to undergo a running analysis, you can book an appointment with Nicole on Tuesdays or Thursdays at CrossFit Sanitas. We’re offering 25% off for Sanitas members for the rest of March! Click here to book now!

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