Runner’s Knee? Check Your Hips

In a two-year study, women who developed runner’s knee had much greater hip adduction, or movement of their hip toward their midline, than women who didn’t develop runner’s knee.

In the study, published in Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sports, researchers did a gait analysis on 400 healthy women runners, and then tracked the women’s incidence of injury over the next two years. Fifteen of the women developed runner’s knee, which is medically known as patellofemoral pain.

The researchers compared the running mechanics of the 15 injured women with 15 women who remained healthy. They found that the women who developed runner’s knee had much greater pelvic instability than the healthy runners; when the women who developed runner’s knee ran, their hips collapsed toward the midline of their bodies instead of remaining level.

The study found no connection between rearfoot eversion, which is roughly overpronation, and developing runner’s knee. Previously we reported on a study that found no dysfunction of the quadriceps muscles in people with runner’s knee. Both studies give further support to the growing consensus that hip function, not biomechanical issues near or below the knee, is the key determinant of whether you’ll develop runner’s knee.


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