For female runners struggling with knee pain, a new small study points to weak glutes as a possible source.

Researchers from East Carolina University in the US compared 20 healthy male runners and 20 healthy female runners. Findings showed that women had 53 percent higher average gluteus activation than men. Researchers note that greater glute activation could lead to earlier fatigue, which could promote “aberrant hip and knee joint kinematics.”

All of the runners ran around 20 miles/32 kilometers a week and had up to six years of experience with running. Past research has shown that women suffer from a knee injury known as petellofemoral pain or patellofemorial pain syndrome (PFPS) twice as much as men.

The study was recently published online in the journal Clinical Biomechanics.

Prior research has suggested that weak hips could contribute to running injuries and that hip-strengthening exercises could help.

To learn how to strengthen your glutes, visit Runner’s World:http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263-266-13852-0,00.html

Or try this routine to activate your glute muscles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWoKaS1N7N8