Why Runners Experience Knee Pain

Your New Year’s resolution of looking better and feeling better is off to a great start. You’ve already carved out time in your schedule and you’re finding your groove. That feeling of empowerment in the beginning is addictive, but it only comes after you’ve just exercised out of shear willpower. When at last you finally reach that point where you WANT to exercise! You’re sitting in your office dreaming about being outside running because it’s become the best part of your day. Your stress melts away and you gain enough energy to tackle whatever life throws your way. You’re beginning to look and feel better, but all of a sudden each step of your run is accompanied with pain. You’re not alone, this is how so many well intended New Year’s resolutions get derailed.

At first you shrug it off thinking you must be sore. After all you’ve put your body through the ringer these last few weeks. You begin researching what causes knee pain during running, and you are finding plenty of great articles about how to use ice packs and heat packs, how to stretch to avoid pain, or even that it might be a matter of pelvic tilt.

The most common reason presented for why runners experience knee pain is a muscular imbalance causing the knee cap to track incorrectly. Here is how Runner’s World explains runner’s knee:

There are multiple causes of knee pain, but often it’s the result of the knee cap, known as the patella, being out of alignment and tracking incorrectly. This improper alignment and tracking can be due to an imbalance of strength between the four muscles that make up the group of muscles known as the quadriceps, located on the anterior, or front, of the thigh. This large muscle group crosses the knee joint. Typically, the most lateral quadriceps muscle, vastus lateralis, is the strongest muscle of the quadriceps group and overpowers the more medial quadriceps muscle, vastus medialis. This imbalance in strength causes the knee cap to track improperly because it is pulled laterally and out of its track by the stronger muscle. Strengthening the medial quadriceps muscles can be helpful in correcting this uneven pull by balancing out strength, which then allows the knee cap to track within its natural path.

You’ve now done everything you can think of to rid the pain. You’ve iced, medicated, elevated, massaged, cross-trained, slowed down, sped up, changed your shoes, tried expensive orthodics, rehabbed, strength-trained, and even done yoga. Nothing is helping. In fact, your knee pain is worse and you are at your wits end. You’re ready to give up on your resolution and you’re convinced your body just isn’t built to be a running machine. It must be genetic, right? Wrong!

Why Runner’s World is only half right.

They are right about muscular imbalance being a possible cause of your pain. Where they fall short is explaining how structural imbalance might be the cause of the muscular imbalance causing your knee pain. You can do all the stretching, strengthening, and rehabbing you want but you’ll never change the structure of your body. When we say structural imbalance we are talking about an issue of the skeletal system being out of balance.

What causes structural imbalance?

Lots of things, from birth to car accidents, from the wrong sleeping position to stress, the list can go on and on. Alarmingly, your structural imbalance (or what we call body imbalance) may have occurred years ago and is manifesting in ways you haven’t yet connected to body imbalance. Do you have migraines? Allergies? Hormonal imbalances? Insomnia? Ear infections? Fibromyalgia? There are a number of health issues that have been directly linked to body imbalance.

What is body imbalance (structural imbalance)?

Body imbalance is the result of a subluxation, which is just a fancy way of saying your vertebrae are putting pressure on one or more points of your spinal cord. Minimal shifting of the vertebrae can cause serious health issues. Symptoms and pain are the body’s way of alerting you something is not right. Something is not working the way it is intended to work, and believe it or not, your body is intended to work perfectly. It’s the best designed machine our planet has ever seen. It accomplishes incredible feats like childbirth. Think of all the things that have to go exactly right in order for a child to be born. It’s incredible what our bodies can accomplish for us!

How to fix body imbalance.

The good news is, you aren’t stuck in a broken body. You’re body is able to heal. With the help of an Upper Cervical doctor your vertebrae can be delicately placed back into just the right spot. And when this realignment happens, all structural imbalances and muscular imbalances are corrected to. Because the body has been brought into a state of alignment at BOTH the structural and muscular levels the knee cap is no longer able to track off course, therefore eliminating the actual root cause of the pain.

The good news doesn’t stop there! In realigning the spine the nervous system is freed from all interference and is also brought into a state of optimal performance. You’ll find yourself free of headaches, able to sleep better, better able to ward off sickness, and more energetic. These are things we hear from our patients on a daily basis. They are shocked by how they begin care assuming one area of their health will improve and are pleasantly shocked when their health and wellness improves across the board.

The best way to find out if you have body imbalance is to be evaluated by an Upper Cervical Doctor. Schedule your free consultation here.