08 July, 2011
Knee Support for Jogging
Jogging is an effective way to lose weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, firm up flabby leg muscles and blow off stress. These benefits, however, do come at a price, and jogging exacts a considerable toll on your knees. If you're among the thousands of runners trying to "train through" a knee problem, you need to find something that will support your knee so that you can keep plugging away even as the injury heals.
The oldest means of trying to keep a bum knee from getting any worse, taping is still used to stabilize the knee joint in cases of relatively mild discomfort. According to the Big Knee Pain website, while there is no scientific evidence that taping does in fact provide stability, it does alleviate knee pain. If you go this route, be sure to use a kind of tape with an adhesive that does not irritate your skin -- you may want to apply a small strip to your thigh or forearm before doing a full taping job in order to rule this phenomenon out.
Formerly a cumbersome and non-movement-friendly device, the standard knee brace has evolved into a lightweight, flexible and comfortable piece of equipment that allows you to keep running while holding your patella, or knee cap, in the midline of your leg -- so that it tracks properly within the grooves in your thigh and shin bones -- as your leg flexes and extends throughout the stride cycle. You can choose from among a wide variety of styles depending on the level of support you require.
Similar to a tourniquet in appearance, a counter-force strap is especially effective in providing knee support in people whose pain stems from tendinitis. This usually means stabilizing the patellar tendon, which connects the knee cap to the shin bone, or the iliotibial band, which runs from the hip to the outside of the knee. The strap is designed to compress the various knee tendons and distribute the forces that jogging subjects the tendons to more evenly throughout the knee, so that no one tendon is overstressed.
Not all sources of support for your knees are worn around the knees themselves. One of the best ways you can support your knees is to wear properly fitting, well-cushioned running shoes. Rather than purchase your shoes at a generic or chain shoe store, visit a running specialty shop so that an experienced runner can ensure you walk out the door with a pair of shoes well-suited to your biomechanics. In addition, don't wait too long before replacing your shoes, as even the best pair of running shoes is no good once the cushioning is gone.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images