It is a very common condition and affects up to 30% of female runners and 25% of males. Though not only runners can suffer from this injury, it is the most common running-related injury. What do you do if you are suffering from a case of runner’s knee? Well, there are many treatment routes, including physical therapy, that depend on the severity of the injury.
What Is Runner's Knee?
Runner’s knee is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. It is a condition caused by damage to the front area of the knee known as the patella. The patella connects the knee to the lower part of the femur. Runner’s knee manifests as pain in the kneecap area and other front parts of the knee.
Though the injury is not exclusive to runners, it is very common among runners because of the amount of strain they put on their knees while running. Runner’s knee is an overuse injury which means that people who put more strain on their patella are more likely to sustain the injury.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of runner’s knee include:
- Rubbing or grinding of the kneecap when the knee is moved
- Pain in the kneecap area, especially when active
- Tender flesh around the kneecap
- Light swelling
Causes of Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee is primarily an overuse condition though there can be other causes. Some of the main causes of runner’s knee include:
Knee overuse: this is the most common cause of a runner’s knee. Knee overuse involves frequent bending and extending which is why runners are so prone to the condition. Exercises like lunges also contribute to overuse and can irritate the kneecap.
Direct impact: direct impact hits to the knee can result in the kneecap being shifted and aggravated which can lead to the runner’s knee. Direct hits to the knee can also lead to other kinds of knee injury with runner’s knee being a symptom.
Misalignment of bones: for some people, the bones in their legs from their hips to ankles may not be correctly positioned. Or abnormal biomechanics due to a certain way of walking or running.
How to Prevent Runner's Knee
Runner’s knee can be prevented for runner’s by stretching and exercising a bit before running. This warms the muscles up and stretches them out before a person starts running. Wearing good running shoes can also prevent knee injuries like runner’s knee.
Runner’s knee can also be prevented by losing weight which adds pressure to the knee. People should consider leaning forward and bending their knees slightly when running or walking to reduce pressure.
How can Physical Therapy help with Runner's Knee?
Physical therapy is the primary form of treatment for runner’s knee. It helps patients by increasing knee mobility and strength. This can be divided into strengthening, stretching, and positional training. These different branches of physical therapy help people dealing with runner’s knee recover.
Some patients may have to have their knee taped or braced for some time to reduce pain or adjust the kneecap. Therapy exercises may still be done with tape or a brace while sometimes the goal is to keep the knee immobile for a while.
If you are dealing with runner’s knee, we can provide information on the condition and its treatment. Contact us today for some assistance!