There is a high risk of injury in almost any sport which we participate in, however, dependant on the sport we play, we are more likely to be prone to certain types of injuries than others. We can never eliminate the risk of injury due to the various external factors we can’t control, although we can control our bodies and the state they’re in prior to competition by ensuring we’re in optimal condition.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the most common injuries suffered by long distance runners were found to be knee and foot injuries. They found that past injuries to those respective areas were shown to be the key risk factor in both male and female runners.
Therefore, this highlights the significance and importance of correct rehabilitation following injury in order to not only prevent and reduce the likelihood of further injury, but to also enhance the athletes physical fitness to ensure they return to activity in a better condition than they were prior to injury.
The key aspects involved in knee rehabilitation in runners should include:
- Landing mechanics,
- Knee stability,
- Muscular strength,
- Muscular endurance.
Although the main area of focus should primarily be the knee joint and the surrounding muscles, it is vital to stress the importance of not neglecting the rest of the body (upper), as this may lead to muscular imbalances elsewhere, which could again lead to injury. Correcting and maintaining correct posture throughout is also critical.
Having a sufficient rehabilitation program will not only strengthen the involved knee, but also strengthen other areas, which will lead to an increase in overall performance.
Jamie Grange BSc (hons) GSR MSc CPT.
van Gent, R. N. Siem, D. van Middelkoop, M. van Os, A. G. Bierma-Zeinstra, S. M. A. Koes, B. W. (2007). ‘Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review’. Br J Sports Med. 41, p469-480.