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Many runners will experience a knee injury at some point. Here’s an introduction to the most common sources of the pain.
Knee injuries with running may seem like death and taxes—inevitable. Many runners have stopped running because of knee pain or the worry that the constant impact will lead to a knee replacement or other problems down the road.
But don’t join your local aqua-aerobics class just yet. Despite the fact that studies show 30 to 50 percent of runners will suffer from an injury in a training year, they are neither inevitable nor untreatable when they do occur. Of the running injuries that do occur, one out of four involves the knee, making it the most commonly injured joint among runners.
The likelihood of an overuse injury occurring is influenced by outside factors such as training issues and running surface, as well as internal anatomic factors that are specific to each runner. Research on the risk factors for injury among runners shows that more experienced runners are at less risk for developing problems. Why? Because they were more likely to listen to their bodies and were less likely to make the training mistakes that contribute to many overuse injuries. Additionally, these more seasoned runners were conditioned to the impact and stress of running.
Research indicates another factor strongly associated with injury risk; a history of previous injury. As a prior running injury can lead to continued risk of future problems, research in Current Sports Medicine Reports stated, “The recovery and rehabilitation of these injuries clearly play a role in the subsequent risk of new running injuries.” Therefore, taking the time to fully rehabilitate from a knee injury and avoiding common training mistakes are crucial in avoiding the repeated cycle of injury.