Hip Exercises Help Alleviate Knee Pain in Runners

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For runners suffering with knee pain, a twice weekly hip strengthening regimen may prove effective at reducing, or eliminating, patellofemoral pain (PFP).

For runners suffering with knee pain, a twice weekly hip strengthening regimen may prove effective at reducing, or eliminating, patellofemoral pain (PFP).

Results of a study conducted for six weeks demonstrated that the exercise routine proved to be beneficial for the participants, who were female runners with knee pain.

The study was performed by Tracy Dierks, assistance professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. The theory behind the study was that stronger hips could correct running errors that contribute to PFP.

The study involved five runners and a control group that comprised another four runners. The exercises were performed twice a week for around 30 to 45 minutes and involved single-leg squats and exercises with a resistance band.

To measure pain, a scale of 0 to 10 was used, with three representing the onset of pain and seven representing very strong pain. In the beginning of the study, the injured runners reported a pain of seven when they ran on a treadmill. By the end of the study, they reported pain levels of two or lower.

“I wasn't expecting such huge reductions, to be honest,” Dierks said, in a news release. “We’ve had a couple of runners who have been at level two, but the overwhelming majority have been a two or below.”

According to Dierks, many of the participants in the study initially showed many of the classic signs of PFP, including knees collapsing inward when running or doing a squat exercise moves.

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