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Knee

Runners Need Knee Support

Posted on August 19, 2016 by Thomas Parker, MD
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Endurance athletes are no strangers to overuse injuries. These can include stress fractures and shin splints or other injuries that may involve the muscles of the hip, thigh, and leg. Today, though, we want to focus our attention on the all-important knee.  The stress that runners put on their knees can unfortunately result in acute or chronic knee pain, which ultimately affects the life of a runner.

We understand the importance of staying active and staying fit.  It’s a part of your routine, a part of your life, and for some, a part of your soul.  Stopping, due to pain, is just not an option.  And it doesn’t have to be.

UNDERSTANDING KNEE INJURIES

 

(Learn more about how many different muscles directly or indirectly affect knee anatomy on Wikipedia). (Learn more about how different muscles directly or indirectly affect the knee anatomy on Wikipedia).

 

About 40 percent of running injuries are knee injuries.  Two common knee injuries that plague runners are Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).   PFPS or "runner's knee," is the irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap). If you have PFPS, you will also likely have pain when resisting leg extension, and possibly tenderness if you push against the kneecap itself.  ITBS occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful.

HOW DOES COMPRESSION HELP?

In our review of the medical literature available to runners, we have certainly found there to be a lot of misinformation available.  It’s our goal to clear that up and provide you with some options to manage your knee pain.

We find that a common sense approach to knee injury management seems to be the best.  Avoiding the culprit activity, strength training, ice, and time are an athlete’s friend.  In addition, so is compression.  We know compression works. For example, check out this excerpt from a post on PopSugar.com:

“An article published in the journal Sports Medicine looked at 30 existing studies on compression gear and running performance and recovery across a variety of distances, including a half marathon, a 15K trail run, 5K and 10K runs, and a 400-meter sprint. The authors concluded that while compression garments had no significant impact on speed, there was an impact on endurance, and some serious post-run benefits too.

Specifically, they found small positive effects on the 'time to exhaustion', running economy, clearance of blood lactate, and markers of muscle damage and inflammation. They also reported large positive effects on post-exercise leg soreness and the delayed onset of muscle fatigue.”

COMPRESSION SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE

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Just as we know that compression works to help in the management of knee pain, we also know that you will keep running through the pain.  As avid athletes ourselves, we can tell you that we have plenty of aches and pains, and none of them are severe enough to prevent us from doing what we love.  We have found, though, that we hurt less when we wear compression.  Therefore, we created the most flexible compression sleeves around.  We emphasize the importance of comfortable compression because, as doctors know, if an athlete has discomfort with their knee support sleeve, they simply won’t wear it.

Body Helix compression knee sleeves are ideal for knee support, providing you with increased stability to your knee.  A Helix will stretch up to 330%, keeping you from changing your stride and having to adjust to a bulky knee brace.  It will stay in place and will support the damaged soft tissue, surrounding muscles and tendons.  It will also increase proprioception (the sensory information that contributes to the sense of position of self and movement), reducing the likelihood of re-injury.

We encourage your to check out our line of knee compression sleeves to help your knee injury and learn more about Which Knee Helix is Right for You.  You don’t just have to take our word for it, though. Peruse our reviews section and hear from tons of athletes that have experienced the benefits of compression for knee support.

 

Body Helix, LLC is always careful not to give medical advice or diagnoses.  Please be sure to seek medical evaluation for pain that is severe, prolonged or worsening despite conservative measures.

 

Thomas Parker, MD

Thomas Parker, MD

About the Author: Thomas E. Parker, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Body Helix, is a retired physician, with a practice specialty of Internal Medicine. He attended The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center. Parker received the distinction of “Top Doctor” in Charlotte Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In 2008, Parker became involved in Body Helix as a founding member and Chief Science Officer with the responsibility of overseeing product development, safety and guiding marketing materials to reflect scientifically accurate claims.

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