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Why Running Like a Duck Could Ease Runners Knee Pain

I have struggled with my knees since January of 2009 when I pushed the deadlift on my weight-training that bit too hard.  The result is painful knees when I get my running wrong.  And as they say, you should look after your knees if you are doing sport.

To try to solve the problem I wear running tights/cycling tights (I prefer to call them leggings because I dislike the lingerie-like connotations!) to keep my knees warm and in place, and at some point will invest in some compression tights.

However, there are still twinges that make me yelp.

I have natural therapist as a friend who manipulated my knee – again with a yelp – some weeks ago and for a short time things seemed ok, then once I got back to training the old problems started up again.  She told me that my problem was a mis-aligned knee cap.  Mainly because the muscles and ligaments that hold the knee – which is really a floating piece of bone – had developed in an unbalanced way, and everything was working in not quite the right way.

I think it’s because I was lifting wrong.

Then my wife one day scorned me for having a middle toe longer than my big toe, which I thought was normal.  Then I realised that when I walked and ran I sprung off from that middle toe, and not my big toe.  And sometimes that resulted in a slight twist of my foot…and twinges in my knee.

So, always the experimenter I decided to twist my foot outwards so that I was springing from my big toe.  I admit, this looks pretty odd, well it does to me but if you saw me running you might not even notice it.  And I can feel me doing it.

I feel like a duck.

However, the result is that ever since I have changed my foot position, and have been very careful to maintain an upright stance, shorten my stride, increase my cadence and land with my foot underneath me – the pain has decreased both during and after my run.

Rocket launch (sort of)

Does the length of toes affect knee pain and running?

Would I recommend it?  Hardly, I am neither doctor nor physio.  If you want to give it a go then I suggest that you talk first to your medical staff to see what they think.  The alternative is to get proper innersoles made to rebalance your foot-step.

You might of course disagree with my opinion, however, I would point out that when you strap on a pair of road bike cycling shoes you carefully make adjustments to the cleat to ensure your knee is operating in the optimal plane, otherwise you get injuries, and that means setting your feet at an odd angle sometimes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Unhindered by Talent

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