Exercises To Relieve Pain

Exercises To Relieve Pain

When you’re an active person, getting an injury can feel like losing a limb.

Although you know that hard work and determination can get you back to fighting fitness, you’ll also know that doing the wrong exercise can put more strain on your body.

Running in itself has a lot of health benefits, but just like any sport, we can easily develop injuries due to overworking ourselves. An easy way to avoid injury is to regulate how often you run, and allow yourself to rest.

As a running community, we have to use a lot of our lower body muscles to maintain good form. If these muscles aren’t strong, we can easily become injured.

Today, we are going to walk you through the best exercise for specific injuries. This way you can continue to stay active without harming your body, and you’ll also strengthen that body part to create faster recovery times.

Balancing exercising and rest is often the difference between helping and harming yourself. So take our advice seriously, and consult with your doctor before starting the programs below.

Before we get started, we want to say a massive hello to all of the new readers from Kennekuk.com. We have recently acquired the website and welcome you all into our community!

Exercises For Back Pain

Many people experience back pain when they run, and there are usually 3 reasons for this affliction – bad posture, bad shoes, and weak muscles.

Bad Posture

Their bad posture is normally due to sitting at a desk all day. It’s a situation most of us find ourselves in, but the relaxed posture created by sitting all day can lead to undue pressure on your lower back.

The discs in your spine start to lose the cushioning needed to prevent pain, and after years of sitting for too long, the lack of cushioning can cause nerves to pinch.

To prevent this from happening, you should pay attention to your posture and sit up straight when you notice you’re slouching.

You should also avoid sitting for too long. Every 30 minutes or so, stand up and walk around the room to prevent inactivity.

If you already have back pain due to your working environment, you can manage it by using a standing desk, which prevents you from sitting all day. Again, you should walk around your office space every 30 minutes or so to prevent inactivity.

Bad Shoes

For many people, the issue of back pain only happens during the run itself. In times like these, it could be your shoes causing mischief.

To ensure your footwear is appropriate, you should be looking for good cushioning. If your shoes are old or cheap, the layer of cushioning around your soles will be thin.

The shock of every step will be felt too dramatically by your feet, and the impact will vibrate up to your back.

This domino effect causes deterioration in your back (and other elements of your body), which is why well-cushioned shoes are important.

Ideally, runners should replace their shoes every 8 to 12 months. This will prevent running on worn cushioning.

Weak Muscles

Now onto the exercising. Just like any part of your body, if you don’t complete a workout for it, then it will become weak.

A weak muscle won’t be able to take pressure as well as a strong one.

When it comes to your back, the main muscles that support it are your gluteus maximus, back extensor muscles, abdominal muscles, and your quadratus lumborum.

Here are some exercises to help you strengthen these areas of your body, and therefore give support to your lower back.

Exercises For Back Pain

Gluteus Maximus Exercises

Your gluteus maximus, also known as glutes, are the muscles that surround your buttocks. These muscles both stabilize your movements and help keep you mobile.

You can make it stronger by completing glute bridges. This is an exercise aimed at developing your gluteus maximus.

To complete a glute bridge follow the guidance below:

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees, while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • Your legs should be hip-width apart.
  • Lay your arms on either side of your body.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Focus on your abdominal muscles (around your stomach) and your glutes (around your bottom), and squeeze.
  • Lift your hips into the air to create a straight line with your body. Your shoulders, hips, and knees should be straight.
  • Hold this position for 2 seconds, then rest.

Step 3 – Repetition

  • Do this motion between 15 times.
  • Once this becomes easy, extend the 2 seconds to 5. Then to 10.
  • Once that becomes easy, extend the repetition from 15 times to 20, then 30.

Back Extensor Muscles

Your back extensor muscles are wrapped around your spine. They are the muscles we use to stand up and bend. To exercise this muscle you need to stretch your back.

One option is to perform the bird-dog stretch. You can do this by following the steps below:

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Put your hands directly below your shoulders.
  • Put your knees directly below your hips.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Squeeze your abdominal muscles.
  • Lift your right arm up, and stretch it in front of your body.
  • Stay balanced.
  • Lift your left leg and extend it behind your body.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds.

Step 3 – Repetition

  • After 15 seconds, switch arms and legs.
  • Hold again for 15 seconds.
  • Do this 5 times on each side.
  • To make it more difficult, increase the hold time or the total repetitions.

Abdominal Muscle Exercises

Your abdominal muscles are around your stomach. They are commonly known as “abs”.

The exercises above work out their main muscles, but they focus on abs too. In fact, many workouts automatically force you into focusing on your abdominal muscles.

Below is a workout that does the opposite. It is created for the abs, but it also engages a wide range of other muscles – such as the back extensor, the quadratus lumborum, your arms, and your feet.

This exercise is called the plank. Follow the steps below to perform it.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Do your forearms against the floor, ensuring your elbows are in line with your shoulders.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Squeeze your abs and your glutes.
  • Lift your hips and your knees.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds
  • Don’t allow your hips to sag. Keep everything straight.
  • Rest.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times.
  • To make it harder or easier, adjust the seconds of holding or the number of repetitions.

Quadratus Lumborum Exercises

Your quadratus lumborum muscles are located near your ribs. They are the deepest part of your abdominal muscles and are normally the cause of lower back pain.

To stretch and strengthen this area, you need to complete a plank with a twist.

It’s called the side plank. You complete it the same as the method above, however, instead of creating a straight back (like a plank), you twist your body, putting one knee on top of the other.

This forces you to engage with the unusual muscles in your hips, stretching them and strengthening them.

As with the original plank, hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat it 5 times.

Exercises For Knee Pain

exercise for knee pain

There are lots of reasons why your knee hurts while you run, but the most common is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This condition is so prevalent in our community that it often goes by a second name – Runner’s Knee.

This syndrome is created when someone has been running with the incorrect form, or if they have been sitting with their knees bent for a long period of time.

Either way, the pressure on your knee cap (also known as the patella) is too great, causing it to swell. This, in turn, causes pain.

Ideally, you should stretch this area of your body before attempting to run. This is especially true if you’ve experienced this pain in the past.

Secondly, you should attempt to strengthen your knees to prevent this pain in the future.

If you’re currently experiencing this pain, you should stop running immediately. Use an ice pack to reduce the swelling.

Once the pain has completely subsided, you can start running again, but this time use our stretches and strengthening techniques first.

That being said, if you are experiencing pain in your inner knee (the area of your knee closest to the opposite knee), then you may need to see a doctor.

Read through our article on how to fix inner knee pain to learn more about the issue at hand.

Quadriceps Stretch

This stretch is for the muscles around the front area of your thighs. The quadriceps connect your knee and hip together.

Stretching these muscles will increase flexibility in the affected area, creating more movement for your knee.

To complete this stretch follow the guidance below:

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Stand next to a countertop or any surface you can use to balance yourself.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Bend your affected leg behind your back.
  • Using your corresponding arm, pull that leg towards your buttocks.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times on both legs.

Heel Drop Strengthening Exercise

The heel drop is normally taught to people who want to strengthen their gluteus maximus. However, it also works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, balance, and control. This makes it a perfect exercise for your knees too.

To complete this strengthening exercise, follow the guidance below:

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Using a staircase stand on the last step before it reaches the floor.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Using your affected leg, stand straight.
  • Lift your non-affected leg.
  • While bending the knee on your affected leg, aim for your non-affected leg’s heel to touch the floor.
  • Then straighten your bent leg.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 15 times.
  • Swap legs.
  • Complete another 15 times.
  • To increase the difficulty, complete this set 3 times.

Exercises For Hip Pain

Exercises For Hip Pain

If your hips start to hurt after you run, then it could be caused by overuse. Running too much without enough resting time, or without proper stretches can lead to muscle tears and tendon strains.

If you are prone to these symptoms, then learning the correct exercises to avoid or relieve this pain can help you get back in your running shoes.

If you suffer from Piriformis Syndrome, please follow the exercises in this link which target your specific needs.

And if you suffer from Tensor Fascia Latae (a tightness around your hips), use this link for specific stretches around this issue. For more generic hip pain, use the exercises below.

The Leg Raise

The leg raise stretch focuses on your buttocks and your stomach.

The aim is to move your legs while keeping your hip on the ground. This exercise is best for people who are in too much pain for anything extreme.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Lie face down on the floor.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Squeeze your abs and your glutes.
  • Lift one leg off the floor without bending your knee.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 3 times on each leg
  • To make it more difficult, extend the hold or repetition time.

External Hip Rotations

This exercise requires you to sit on the floor, almost cross-legged. The idea is to give yourself control through your hips while also strengthening your back.

We don’t recommend this exercise for anyone post-surgery or to anyone with back pain.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Bend your knees, and put your feet together – sole to sole.
  • If sitting is difficult you can complete the same leg position while lying on your back instead of sitting.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Press your knees down towards the floor.
  • Do this until you feel the stretch.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times.
  • To make it more difficult, extend the hold or repetition time.

Hip Extensions

Hip extensions are designed to give you more flexibility in your hips. Large amounts of flexibility can mean less strain on your muscles when you run long distances.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Stand next to a counter, or something that can help you balance.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Move one leg backward, while keeping your knees straight.
  • Keep your leg behind you.
  • Tighten your glute muscles.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Do this 5 times.
  • To make it more difficult, extend the hold or repetition time.

Exercises For Calf Pain

Exercises For Calf Pain

If you run barefoot or use lightweight shoes which act like they’re not there, then you are likely to develop calf strains. This is true if you run on a treadmill, through a trail, or on the tarmac.

The reason for this added strain is due to the impact of your foot hitting the ground. Without a cushion to protect your soles, your calf muscles have to work harder.

To get past your calf pain, you can either replace your shoes with something more cushioned, or you could strengthen your calf muscles. We suggest doing both.

In this article, we have already described how to help relieve calf pain while it’s actively hurting you, so we won’t repeat ourselves.

Instead, we will explain how you can strengthen your calves, to prevent pain in the future.

Double Leg Calf Raise

In a moment, we will explain the single leg calf raise, however that version of this exercise is rather intense. To make sure we cover all levels of fitness, we will first start with the less strenuous version of this workout.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Stand near a counter or wall to balance on.
  • Move your feet until they are hip-width apart.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Put your body weight onto the balls of your feet, moving your body upwards in the process.
  • Squeeze your abdominal muscles at the same time.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Release.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times.
  • To increase the difficulty, hold a dumbbell in one hand while trying to maintain your balance.
  • Alternatively, complete the single-leg calf raise below.

Single Leg Calf Raise

In this version of the leg calf raise, you can only balance on one leg. This puts more weight on your calf muscles and forces you to maintain your control.

These two factors are what make this version more difficult.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Stand near a counter or wall to balance on.
  • Move your feet until they are hip-width apart.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Stand on one leg, with the other behind you.
  • Put your body weight onto the balls of your standing feet, moving your body upwards in the process.
  • Squeeze your abdominal muscles at the same time.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Release.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times.
  • To increase the difficulty, hold a dumbbell in one hand while trying to maintain your balance.

Exercises For Ankle Pain

Exercises For Ankle Pain

The most common form of ankle pain is a sprain. In this link, we explain how you can develop a sprained ankle and the other types of ankle-related injuries you could be experiencing.

You could also be experiencing Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, which occurs when you overwork your body. This injury presents itself through an inflamed muscle around your arch or instep of your foot.

You can use the exercises below to help treat your pain, or you can use this link for more specific information.

The most common treatment for any ankle pain is also the simplest – rest. Resting your ankles can help them recover without the need for additional attention.

If your pain is intense, you may want more help relieving the discomfort you’re experiencing.

If that’s the case, follow the exercises below but do this with caution, as overworking your sprained ankle can result in a longer recovery time.

Achilles Tendon And Plantar Fascia Stretch

If your Achilles tendon or plantar fascia is in pain, then this stretch will soothe the ache.

Your Achilles tendon is the muscle that connects your calves to your heel bone, while your plantar fascia is the muscle that connects the base of your toe bones to your heel bone.

To help relieve pain in this area, you need to complete the exercise below to stretch these specific muscles.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Sit down on the floor.
  • Keep your legs straight.
  • Loop a towel around the ball of your affected foot.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Pull your foot gently with the towel, keeping your legs straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other foot.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 5 times.

Sitting Plantar Fascia Stretch

If sitting on the floor isn’t easy for you, or if you want a quick stretch while you continue through your day, complete this stretch instead.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Sit on a chair
  • Cross your affected foot over the opposite knee.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Hold the base of your toes.
  • Pull your toes back, until you feel the stretch.
  • Hold for 20 seconds

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 3 times on each foot.

Standing Calf Stretch

If the pain stems from a calf injury, then you may benefit from completing the calf exercises above, in addition to this stretch below.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Stand facing a wall.
  • Put both of your hands flat against the wall.
  • Place one foot in front of the other.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Keep your back knee straight, with your heel firmly on the ground.
  • Slowly bend your front knee.
  • When you feel the stretch, hold it.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Relax.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 10 times on each leg.

Exercises For Hamstring Pain

Exercises For Hamstring Pain

Hamstring injuries are rare, and can be hard to point out. If you experience sudden pain or tenderness at the back of your thigh, you may have experienced a hamstring tear.

After 5 days of resting your leg, icing it, and keeping it elevated, you can try inducing gentle stretches to strengthen the muscles once more.

Once they have recovered using the stretches below, you can use the exercises in this link to make them stronger than before. This will prevent tears in the future.

First, we recommend completing the Standing Calf Stretch, mentioned in our “Exercises For Ankle Pain” subheading.

Next, is the Double Leg Calf Raise, mentioned in our “Exercises For Calf Pain” subheading. Plus, the Hip Extensions are mentioned in our “Exercises For Hip Pain” subheading.

Along with those three exercises we have already mentioned, we also suggest completing Hamstring Curls.

Hamstring Curls

Imagine a bicep curl but for your hamstrings. This is a simple exercise, designed to rebuild your standard strength in your hamstring muscles.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Keep your knees straight.
  • Put a pillow under your stomach.
  • Ensure your knees are comfortable before beginning – place a cloth underneath if necessary.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Bend your knee to lift your leg towards your buttocks.
  • If this movement is too painful, only lift your leg to feel the stretch.
  • This motion shouldn’t be painful.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 10 times on each leg
  • If there is no pain or discomfort when completing this exercise use a resistance band to add difficulty.

Exercises For Thigh Pain

Exercises For Thigh Pain

For runners, the most common area of pain in the thigh is the quadriceps. These are the front muscles around your thighs.

This area is most likely to become sore after your run, simply because it is doing the most work. Stretching before and after your run can help reduce the soreness you experience, and can help you recover faster.

If you read our article dedicated to fixing sore quads after running, you will find exercise dedicated to improving the strength of your quadriceps.

The overall suggestion is to complete squats and lunges. Strengthening and soothing your quads requires the same exercise, so to avoid repeating ourselves we will instead add to the list of exercises you can attempt.

The exercises in the link above will directly help you ease your thigh pain, but if you require more variation, add step-ups to your routine too.

Step Ups

Step-ups require you to keep your knees stable. They work your quadriceps, your hamstrings, calves, core, and hip muscles.

Step 1 – Set Up

  • Find a step or a box that is around knee height.
  • Put one foot on the step, and the other on the floor.

Step 2 – The Movement

  • Focus on your foot planted on the step.
  • Drive your pressure onto that foot to lift your body up.
  • Keep your back straight as you do this.
  • Step back down with the same foot.

Step 3 – The Repetition

  • Do this 3 times on each leg
  • To make this movement easier, reduce the height of your step.
  • To make it harder, increase the repetitions or hold a dumbbell in one hand.

Exercise For Shin Pain

The most common type of shin pain is shin splints. Shin splints are the term used to describe pain along your shin bone (also known as your tibia).

During this pain, your muscles will be inflamed putting pressure on your tendons.

We have created an article on how to ease the pain of shin splints already, so instead of repeating ourselves, we will offer exercises to prevent shin splints from reoccurring.

Complete these once your shin pain has subsided.

We suggest attempting the Standing Calf Stretch and Achilles Tendon And Plantar Fascia Stretch both mentioned in the “Exercises For Ankle Pain” subheading.


Before you start your run, you should be stretching your legs, back, and hips to loosen up the muscles to prevent tears and soreness later on.

You can use a mixture of the stretches and exercises listed above to create your own personalized stretching routine, or you can pick and choose the best stretches based on the typical injuries you experience.

Either way, be sure to work out every part of your lower body to ensure a safer run and a more enjoyable experience.