A query for Eric. I'm trying to stay positive about this knee pain that's stopped me running, and I'm trying to address it by figuring out what is wrong with my run form. In The CI, there's a list of Common Run Form Mistakes, and I'm wondering if my knee pain, tight IT band and tight hip flexors are the result of being a "bender". Just to clarify, is a "bender" someone who runs with excessively bent legs (that do straighten with take-off), or someone who never straightens their legs at all?

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Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 8:59am

Yes, this is the vicious cycle that occurs - your glutes are shut off, which calls on the hip flexors to stabilize, causing them to over work (tight), and also placing too much work and stress to the IT and quads.

I think you could start the fit ball lunge right away. Try the run drills/hills/stairs and see how the IT feels.  I think you will find that the discomfort is not an issue, especially on the hills, but still might be present on other types of running.  So I would only focus on this type of running right now and listen to the body as always during other kinds of running.

Comment by Paul Weeks on February 24, 2014 at 8:51am

And can I get started on these exercises straight away, or should I wait for my IT band to calm down a bit?

Comment by Paul Weeks on February 24, 2014 at 8:48am

Cheers Eric. Many thanks for this. So just to be absolutely clear, if my legs are too bent during footstrike etc, it doesn't matter if they straighten or not on take off? It would certainly explain a lot - I've had a horrifically tight psoas for longer than I can remember....

Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 8:34am

Also, the fit ball lunge will really help with getting glute activity and muscle memory for leg extension on take off.

Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 8:29am

Hi Paul - this is correct.  If we keep the knees "too" bent, this places a lot of stress on the quads, which can make them overly tight, therefore, these tight muscles can pull on the knee.  This can cause the knee to then not track properly, causing the pain.

Also, by keeping the knees too bend and not getting good hip/leg extension at take off, it is hard to get good glute activity/stabilization. This is super important, without this stability, you will over use your IT band and hip flexors (psoas).

So, if this is the case, look to do more of the skipping drills, powerful stair running, and short, 10-15 second steep hill repeats.

All of this will help you get that glute activation, hip/leg extension.  But be powerful, so that leg really provides power into the ground.

I also can't remember if I suggested to you to stretch your quads to see if that helps.  This is an easy way to troubleshoot the tight quad/bender described above.

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