Tips to Avoid Knee Pain When Starting a New Sport

 Starting a new sport, especially one as invigorating and accessible as running, can be an exciting journey towards better health and fitness. However, for many newcomers, the thrill of the activity can be dampened by the onset of knee pain. Knee pain is a common complaint among beginners, but with the right approach and precautions, it can often be avoided. Our osteopaths at Nene Valley Osteopathy  understand the importance of preventing injuries and promoting healthy movement patterns. Here are some tips to help you avoid developing knee pain when starting a new sport, such as running:

 1. Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity:
One of the most common mistakes new athletes make is doing too much, too soon. To avoid overloading your knees, start with shorter distances and lower intensities, gradually increasing your intensity over time. This allows your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to adapt to the demands of your new sport without putting excessive strain on your knees.

 2. Warm-Up Properly:
Before each session, take the time to warm up your muscles and joints. Dynamic stretches and light cardiovascular exercise such as  walking for 10 minutes can help increase blood flow to your muscles, improve flexibility, and prepare your body for the activity ahead. Focus on movements that target the muscles around your knees, such as leg swings, lunges, and partial squats.

 3. Pay Attention to Your Footwear:
The right pair of sports shoes can make a significant difference in preventing knee pain. Visit a reputable store to get fitted for shoes that provide adequate support, cushioning, and stability for your feet and biomechanics, though make sure they're comfortable for you. Avoid worn-out shoes that no longer provide proper shock absorption, as they can increase the impact on your knees.

 4. Listen to Your Body:
Pay attention to any warning signs of knee pain or discomfort during and after your sessions. Ignoring pain can lead to further injury and setbacks. If you experience persistent or worsening knee pain, take a short break from your chosen  sport and consult with us, we can help you reach a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is tailor made for you to get you back on track,  quickly.

 5. Cross-Train and Strengthen:
Incorporating cross-training and strength training exercises into your routine can help prevent knee pain by improving overall strength, stability, and flexibility. Activities like cycling, swimming, yoga, and Pilates can complement your new routine while reducing the repetitive stress on your knees. Focus on strengthening the muscles around your knees, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, to provide better support and stability for your joints.

 6. Maintain Proper Form:
Whatever your chosen sport,  it's important to start with good postures, or form.  Using poor  form can increase the risk of knee pain and other injuries. Focus on maintaining a relaxed posture, with your shoulders relaxed, chest open, and arms swinging naturally. If you're beginning running, land softly on your midfoot or forefoot, rather than your heels, and aim for a quick turnover with shorter strides to reduce impact on your knees. If you're beginning to lift weight in the gym, it's a  good idea to grab an instructor and ask them to show you how to do things with good form from the start, so as to not develop bad habits!

 7. Cool Down and Stretch:
After each session, take the time to cool down with a light jog or walk, followed by stretching targeting the muscles in your legs and hips and  back. Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate tightness in your knees and prevent stiffness. Stretching can also help you to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, the following day!

By following these tips and listening to your body, you can reduce the risk of developing knee pain when starting a new sport, such as running. Remember that prevention is key, and investing in your body's health and well-being will pay off in the long run. If you experience persistent knee pain or have any concerns, don't hesitate to seek guidance from our osteopaths,, who can provide personalised advice and treatment specific to your needs and get you back to activity, quickly! 

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