As any runner knows, knee pain can be a bothersome and common issue, and it can interfere with performance. Often, it’s tempting to ignore the pain and overlook the potential consequences, but neglect will only make things worse. One of the most common reasons for developing knee pain is neglecting foot and ankle mobility, which can increase stress on the knee joints.
David London, a registered physiotherapist at The Runners Academy in Toronto, shares several exercises to help you alleviate your knee pain and strengthen lower leg mobility. “You have to be proactive to get the most out of your body,” says London. “Being proactive translates to better running.”
“If you have no range of motion in these areas, your knees will take a beating,” London points out. “A way to test your range of motion is by doing a few deep squats. You want to be able to fully go down without discomfort.”
In the video, London sheds light on issues such as improper form, overuse and muscle imbalances, sharing insight and demonstrating several leg-focused exercises to address discomfort and strengthen muscles around the knee.
“Strong hip muscles, including the glutes, hip abductors and hip flexors, help stabilize the pelvis and stress on the knees while running,” says London. “Ankle mobility is also crucial for distributing forces evenly throughout the lower extremities.” Strong and well-balanced hips and ankles can contribute to helping the lower body move more efficiently.
Adding a short routine that focuses on strengthening and mobilizing the hips and ankles is essential for preventing injuries and enhancing your running performance. London notes that just giving attention to these areas can help with pain-free running and efficient movement throughout their lower body, protecting the knees in the process.
David London is a 28-year-old registered physiotherapist at The Runners Academy in Toronto who studied nutritional science at the University of Toronto, then completed an MSc in physiotherapy at Dalhousie University. He is an avid runner, soccer and ultimate player, with the goal to promote an active lifestyle. You can follow him on Instagram or YouTube.