Sore Knees After Running? Work These Strengthening Exercises Into Your Routine

After you go for a run, do your knees feel sore? This might seem like a minor annoyance at first, but if you don't address it, you may later find that you develop a more serious injury like IT band syndrome or runner's knee. To keep your knees from getting so sore, and to prevent these possible injuries, try adding these knee-strengthening exercises to your workout routine a few days a week.

Leg Raises

This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, which are the muscles that attach to the top front of the knees.  Start by laying flat on your back with both of your knees stretched out in front of you and your arm straight at your sides. Lift one leg about 6 inches off the ground, holding it straight and avoiding bending it at the knee. Hold this position for about five seconds, and then lower the leg back to the ground. Repeat this motion with the other leg. Aim to do 10 repetitions with each leg. As you get stronger, work towards holding each lift for 10 or 15 seconds rather than five.

Weighted Hamstring Curls

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the upper leg that tie into the back of the knee. You'll need some ankle weights to perform it effectively. Stand against a chair or a table, and hold into the chair or table for balance. Balance your weight on one leg, and curl the other leg up behind you, bending it at the knee. Hold the position for five seconds, and then switch legs. Aim for 10 repetitions with each leg, and build to the point where you can hold each repetition for 10 seconds.

Calf Raises

This final exercise strengthens the muscles in your calf, which tie into the back of your knee. Take off your shoes, and find a chair or rail to hang onto. Rise up onto your toes, and hold the position for 20 – 30 seconds. Make sure you're not leaning too much on the chair – use it for balance only. Lower your heels back down, rest for a few seconds, and then repeat this motion about 10 times per session.

If your knees are still sore after a few weeks of performing these exercises, consider visiting a physical therapist, like one at Eastern Shore Physical Therapy. They can show you specially tailored exercises that will help strengthen your knees and ease your pains in the long-term, helping you to avoid more serious injuries.