Q: My knee hurts during cold-weather running. What’s going on?
A: You’ve heard it before: strength straining and stretching are your friends. A nagging runner’s knee can be a sign that you need to strengthen muscles elsewhere. Try strengthening the quads, calves, glutes and hamstrings. If the pain is at the side of the knee, it could be a problem with the IT band. Your IT band runs from the hip to the shin along the side of your leg. It both stabilizes and helps move the knee so when it’s tight, pain in the knees can follow as a result. Make sure your are including stretching and foam rolling in your routine. If your IT band is causing injury, you may have to switch to running on softer surfaces or take down the mileage.
There’s a chance it could be arthritis. For many, cold weather aggravates arthritic knees. If it’s osteoarthritis — the wearing down of cartilage on the joint— find ways to lessen impact. Again, strengthening the quads and hamstrings is important here to keep a normal running gait and to prevent additional wear on your knees.