Hip strengthening exercises performed by female runners aid in the reduction of knee pain as well as improves the runners' gaits, found in a study conducted by an Indiana University expert.
"The results indicate that the strengthening intervention was successful in reducing pain, which corresponded to improved mechanics," said Tracy Dierks, associate professor of physical therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
"The leg was going through more motion, suggesting that the (pain) guarding mechanism was reduced, and coordination or control of many of these peak or maximum angles in the leg were improved in that they were getting closer to occurring at the same time," she said.
The exercises, performed twice a week for around 30 to 45 minutes, involved single-leg squats and exercises with a resistance band, all exercises that can be performed at home.
The study involved four runners and a control group comprised of another four runners.
Hip strength measurements and kinematic data were taken before and after the runners in the control group maintained their normal running schedule for six weeks.
The measurements were repeated for all of the runners before and after the next six-week period in which they all performed the hip-strengthening exercises.
After the six-week program, the movement of the hips and knees in relation to each other improved for both groups of runners, demonstrating increases in joint angles between the foot, shin and thigh.
Dierks discussed his findings on Wednesday at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Denver.