Build stronger legs.
Runners with weaker quads and hamstrings were found to be three to six times more likely to develop knee pain, says lead study author Michelle C. Boling, PhD. Do three sets of 10 reps of moves like lunges and squats three times a week.
Ban the buckle.
Do a quick spot-check: Jump in place and notice whether your knees aim inward or do not bend much when you land. Runners who were guilty of both no-nos during a jumping task were three times more likely to get runner's knee. When running, keep your knees in line with your hips, Boling says.
Shore up arches.
Overpronating, in which arches turn inward on hitting the ground, increased the likelihood of knee pain threefold. If you feel that your strike could be more steady, wearing a stability running sneaker may help, Boling says. Visit a specialty running shop for a fitting or ask your doctor if you need the extra support of orthotics.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2010.