Knee Braces for Running: When should I use them?

Knee Braces for Running: When should I use them?

Today we’re going to look at Knee Braces for Running.

How do you protect your knees when running?

Knee braces are a great idea when running or for any other sport when there’s a risk of pain or injury to the knee.

How do you protect your knees when running?

Thanks to their design, knee braces help improve mobility in the injured area and help relieve pain.

Some runners habitually use them when training as they improve circulation and provide greater support to the knees.

Why use knee braces for running?

Ideally, you shouldn’t have to wear knee braces for running; however, due to injury or wear and tear, many athletes dedicated to this physical activity require the use of orthopaedic knee braces.

They are also great for runners who have suffered serious injuries or have chronic knee conditions.

They don’t guarantee a definitive solution to such problems, but:

  • They contribute to the recovery process;
  • In addition to facilitating the proper functioning of the knees.

Knee injuries in runners

The knees are a very sensitive part of the body, especially for dedicated runners, both professionals and those who simply enjoy it.

Knee injuries for runners

Runners frequently suffer knee injuries, and among the most common types of injuries are the following:

Tibial periostitis

This consists of inflammation of the membrane that covers the tibia, called the periosteum.

When runners train with high intensity, the impact of the foot against the ground causes the strain of muscle contraction to vibrate against the junction of the bone, creating inflammation.

Tibial periostitis can be posterior or anterior, the latter being the most common.

It manifests itself with acute pain in the lower part of the tibia, which can rise to reach the knee.

Runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain

Patellofemoral pain occurs at the level of the lower kneecap or patella. It can happen as a result of the rubbing of the kneecap with the thigh bone or femur when the knee moves.

It also occurs through a displacement of the kneecap.

It manifests itself through pain in the kneecap after running.

Patellar tendinopathy

This is an inflammation of the patellar tendon at the back of the knee. This tendon allows for extension movements in the knee.

It’s also known as the “jumper’s knee”.

It usually happens to runners who train on a surface that is too hard or as a result of an increase in training volume.

Chondromalacia

This consists of the softening or wear of the cartilage, in turn causing the patella and muscle to rub against each other, generating a sharp pain, similar to the feeling of having the muscle pinched.

It causes a displacement of the kneecap towards the outside and in exceptional cases also towards the inside. A severe injury that may require surgery.

Depending on the type of injury diagnosed, the most convenient sports knee brace will be used, according to the corresponding medical indications.

Types of knee braces for running

When a runner suffers an injury, they of course want to recover as quickly as possible.

Types of knee injuries for runners

In this sense, knee braces for running are an effective accessory for rehabilitation exercises and to help mitigate pain.

There are different types of knee braces for running, such as those mentioned below:

Neoprene knee braces

Neoprene provides warmth and support and is recommended for sports practice.

Although it’s important to understand that it’s a non-breathable material, meaning it’ss not suitable to be used for more than 6 hours a day.

Compression knee braces

These are characterised by being elastic and breathable. They’re comfortable and have a non-slip design.

They bring warmth to the joint as well as better support.

Suitable for relieving pain and contributing to faster recovery by increasing blood flow.

Hinged knee braces

They limit the movement of the knee and are ideal for preventing injuries.

Its design is adjustable.

They relieve moderate knee pain and can be used for running.

Cold gel knee braces

They have a gel pad that, when cooled, mitigates pain. Typically, these are supports to which the gel component is fitted.

They’re used for knees and soft tissues.

Due to them being heavier than the other models, it’s best to use them after running to facilitate recovery between training sessions.

Is it safe to use knee braces when running if you’re not injured?

The use of knee braces is common in almost all sports, as the physical improvement resulting for wearing them is undeniable.

For runners, they won’t feel as much of the impact of their strides and they can help prevent injuries.

Is it safe to use knee braces for running if you're not injured?

However, regular use of knee braces can cause you to lose strength in the musculature around your knee, which flexes and extends your knee as you move.

So, through excessive use of these accessories, instead of avoiding injuries, what you end up doing is weakening your muscles and increasing the likelihood of suffering an injury.

Tips for protecting your knees

With the following simple tips, you can protect your knees while running without any major complications:

  • Strengthen the muscles: the knees suffer less if the muscles are strong and flexible. Maintaining good muscle tone helps in this sense. You shouldn’t disregard the gym and just limit yourself to running.
  • Choose the right footwear for running: footwear that suits our specific physical needs.
  • Alternate the surface you run on: you have to vary both the training time and the surface you run on: earth, cement and grass.
  • Warm up to prepare the body for exercise: and do post-workout stretches to relieve tension in muscles and tendons.
  • Balanced diet: your diet should be balanced and rich in vitamins A, C, D, calcium and Omega-3 fats. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and hydrate properly.
  • Take care of your running technique: any error in posture, stride or footing can, in the long term, overload the knees.
Progressively increase the pace of training and respect rest times to avoid overexertion that can cause knee injuries.

Bibliography:

  1. “Diversas revistas sobre running como running times”.
  2. “Las lesiones deportivas” Ronald P. Pfeiffer, Brent C Magnus 2007.
  3. “Runner´s world la guía completa del running”.
  4. Knowledge and experience as a personal trainer.

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Review of Knee Braces for Running

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Injuries - 100%

Types - 100%

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About María José García
María José García
María José has been connected to sport throughout her whole life. She has competed in several sport disciplines such as skating, swimming or gymnastics since she was a little girl.
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