Knee pain is all too common among runners, but a new study may have found a trick to reduce it. Shape reports that the study, published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, “found that running at a faster speed reduces the overall stress to your knee by 30%.”
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In the study, researchers looked at subjects who ran at different speeds (5, 7.3, and 9.8 mph). While faster runners put more impact on their knees, they also took fewer strides to travel the same distance. So, the speedier runners put less stress on their knees overall.
But, by running faster to reduce knee pain, you could be putting your lower legs at risk for injury instead. The trick, then, is to maintain a heel strike even when your speed increases. Athletic trainer and exercise physiologist Scott Weiss told Shape, “Since we became bipedal (using two legs to walk), natural human gait has been to land on the heel of the foot — and that’s the best way to absorb shock from the body.”
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If you can’t work on your heel strike with a running coach (let’s face it, most of us don’t have that luxury), Shape explains that you can “focus on either increasing your stride length or frequency while maintaining your heel landing” per Weiss’ suggestion. He adds that this "will help you become faster and avoid loading both your knee and your lower leg muscles."
Click through to Shape for more on protecting your knees. (Shape)
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