Knee pain caused by training errors

Having knee pain does not necessarily mean that you have a serious injury or even damaged tissue. 90% of the time, knee pain or other injuries are caused by training errors. The most common error is lack of rest or recovery, or failure to allow your body to rebuild itself prior to training the same muscle groups.

For example, anyone who has done squats after taking time off knows how sore your legs are for the next few days. If you were to immediately go back to the gym and squat heavy again the next day, you aren’t allowing yourself to properly recovery. Exercise actually breaks down muscle, tendon and bone tissue, leading to the rebuilding phase which starts immediately after completion of the exercise.

Proper rest includes limiting your training of the same muscle group for 24-48 hours, getting plenty of rest and making sure to get enough calories to allow your body to rebuild those structures you were training. This principle exists in strength training as well as with running and aerobic exercise.

Running is actually very hard on the body, and is one of the most injurious sports/activities in the world. This is because most runners go out most days of the week because they feel emotionally and socially connected because of their running.

Lack of recovery days leads to overtraining. Some signs of overtraining include soreness lasting longer than 2-3 days following a single activity, shortness of breath or fatigue with normal activities, weight loss, muscle atrophy, new onset of joint or bone pain.

Overtraining can lead to stress injuries such as stress fractures, muscle tears, tendinopathy or “tendinitis”, and acceleration of arthritis formation.

High intensity training over 4-5 days per week places most runners at higher risk of injury, so the general recommendation should be to train under this threshold. This also means that its important to diversify your training schedule. Going out for 4-5 long-runs per week will put you on the fast-track to injury, just as 4-5 speed days or track days. Try adding in low and medium intensity days or taking a day or two off from running to lift weights.

Weight lifting adds diversity to your training program and challenges tissues that aren’t necessarily being trained with running. This allows for healing of the most injured areas seen in running such as the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis), achilles tendon (achilles tendonitis), calcaneous and tibia (stress fractures/stress injuries).

This principle applies to weight lifting as well, so make sure to train all major muscle groups. Space out training of the same muscles at least one day apart to reduce risk of injury.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and visit for more information or to schedule a free-trial visit to see how our PT can further help you!

Look for our next post on 11/15, on knee pain caused by limited leg strength.