Can hamstrings cause knee pain

External knee pain: 4 causes and what helps against it

The knee is the largest joint in the human body and connects our thigh to the lower leg. Knee pain can severely limit our quality of life, because without our knees everyday movements such as walking, running, sitting or standing would not be possible at all. Joggers in particular often struggle with knee pain and are afraid of an operation. However, this is often not necessary at all. According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, more knee operations are performed in Germany than in any other country. Many knee specialists shake their heads at these numbers, others even say that 75 percent of these operations are completely unnecessary.

We'll show you the causes of external knee pain and give you tips on how to get rid of them without surgery.

1. Cause: Overload - the typical beginner's mistake

In addition to osteoarthritis, exercise is the main cause of knee pain. But no worry. Refraining from exercising to avoid knee pain would also not be a good idea. In principle, exercise is of course healthy. With joggers, it is often the overloading of the joint that causes external knee pain. Beginners and those returning to the sport, in particular, often train harder than is good for them. Even if, as a beginner, you have the feeling that you could still run - your body and therefore your knees must first get used to the strain. The good thing about knee pain due to overuse is that it usually goes away on its own the next day, often after a few hours. Incorrect running technique or unsuitable footwear may also be responsible for overloading the knee.

What helps?
If you have knee pain due to overload, you should stop your training immediately so that the pain does not worsen and you do not put unnecessary strain on your knee. You should also reduce your training intensity. Reduce the scope of your training and increase the intensity in small steps. A treadmill analysis helps to find out whether shoes or running technique are to blame for the pain. This is not only offered by good sports shops, but also by sports doctors and orthopedic surgeons and, in some cases, by medical supply stores and orthopedic technicians.

2nd cause: Muscular imbalance - weak muscles in the hips, feet and thighs

External knee pain can also be due to the muscles. Especially on the thigh muscles. If this is uneven, the pull on the kneecap is not even. It can be pushed outwards and cause pain there. Weak hip or foot muscles can also cause external knee pain. Because these muscles ensure stability of the hip and ankle joint - two important factors for healthy, painless movement. If the muscles are not strong enough, the leg axis twists. And as a result, there is an improper strain on the knee, which can have painful consequences.

What helps?
Sports! Yes, good news: while exercise is a leading cause of external knee pain, it also helps with it. If you specifically train the muscles in question, your knees will be less stressed. It is best to talk to a professional trainer about a suitable training plan.

3rd cause: leg malpositions - knock knees put strain on the knees

The leg axis can twist when jogging due to weak muscles. In some people it is permanently twisted - this is more commonly known as knock knees or bow legs. Joggers with knock knees are particularly prone to external knee pain, as they put more stress on the outside of the joint. The pain can often be attributed to cartilage wear in the outer knee joint. In this case, initially only the outer area hurts, later the pain can spread to the entire knee.

What helps?
The right shoes and, if necessary, specially adapted insoles from the orthopedic surgeon. Both can counteract the misalignment and ensure that the shock load on the outside of the knee joint is reduced. If you have knock knees, you should definitely only buy your running shoes with a thorough treadmill analysis. Don't worry, knock-knees are generally not a reason not to jog. You should only attach particular importance to suitable equipment. And as a knock-kneeling runner, you should better interrupt your training if you have external knee pain. Otherwise there is a risk of long-term consequential damage such as osteoarthritis.

4th cause: inflammation in the joint - the classic runner's knee

If knee pain outside or in front below the kneecap does not subside after training, this indicates an inflammation of the tissue. A classic case is the so-called runner's knee, referred to by medical professionals as the iliotibial band syndrome or ITBS for short. The stabbing or burning knee pain is usually only noticeable at first when going downhill. Then also when walking normally and later when sitting with bent legs and climbing stairs. The runner's knee is triggered by the rubbing of tendons over the bones in the knee joint. This causes the tissue to become inflamed, the knee often swells, feels warm and audibly crunches when you move. A damaged outer meniscus can also cause these symptoms.

What helps?
As a first aid measure, be sure to stop running and cool your knee to relieve pain, and take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever if necessary. A bandage helps stabilize the knee. However, you should definitely see a doctor with these symptoms to clarify that something else, such as osteoarthritis, is not behind the pain. With a runner's knee, unfortunately, you will not be able to avoid a training break. Rest is called for until the pain has subsided. This not only applies to jogging, but also in everyday life. The inflamed knee should be stressed as little as possible, otherwise there is a risk of long-term damage. Once the inflammation has subsided, only lightly exercise it. So don't go straight back into running training, but increase carefully and start with physiotherapy exercises.

Finally, some good news: A runner's knee doesn't mean the end of your running career. However, you should keep an eye on your running style so that there is no incorrect strain on the knee. A session with a professional treadmill may be a good idea, who can give you tips on proper running technique. And of course, the right running shoes are also essential. People with bowlegs are particularly susceptible to a runner's knee. Such a misalignment should be compensated for by the shoes. Extensive stretching and warming up before the run is also important.

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