WHAT IS RUNNER’S KNEE
Runner’s knee isn’t a specific injury. It’s a broad term that describes the pain you feel if you have one of several knee problems (i.e. chondromalacia patella, a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap breaks down) can lead to runner’s knee symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF RUNNER’S KNEE?
- Overuse. Bending your knee again and again or doing a lot of high-stress exercises, like lunges and plyometrics (training that uses the way your muscles lengthen and shorten to boost their power), can irritate tissues in and around your kneecap.
- A direct hit to the knee, like from a fall or blow
- Your bones aren’t lined up (your doctor will call this malalignment). If any of the bones from your hips to your ankles are out of their correct position, including the kneecap, that can put too much pressure on certain spots. Then your kneecap won’t move smoothly through its groove, which can cause pain.
- Problems with your feet, like hypermobile feet (when the joints in and around them move more than they should), fallen arches (flat feet), or overpronation (which means your foot rolls down and inward when you step). These often change the way you walk, which can lead to knee pain.
- Weak or unbalanced thigh muscles. The quadriceps, those big muscles in the front of your thigh, keep your kneecap in place when you bend or stretch the joint. If they’re weak or tight, your kneecap may not stay in the right spot.
- Chondromalacia patella, a condition in which the cartilage under your kneecap breaks down.
Knee injuries can be easy to manage if more serious conditions such as ACL and severe arthritis has been ruled out. Rapid Release, therapeutic ultrasound, stretching & home care are usually all that is required to help alleviate the most symptoms. Following the guideline below will greatly help to avoid unnecessary injuries to the knee.
Stretch. Far too often we leave are joints and ligaments alone because of our busy lifestyles. Just ten minutes a day stretching a body part can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Weak or unbalanced thigh muscles can also contribute to knee pain by not keeping the kneecap in place when you bend or stretch the joint.
Avoid heat if possible. Although heat will feel great on arthritic knees, you may want to try ice instead. Ice constricts the muscle and acts as a brace, but also as a numbing therapy as well. Be careful not to overuse as (15) minutes is long enough to apply ice to any joint.
Weight plays a big factor. Gravity is always working and your knees will bear the brunt an excess load. Acute therapy is great, but the chronic phase of obesity can lead to many negative health problems besides early arthritis.
Consider intermittent therapy. You probably have more trigger points and sore spots than you know. Our therapists can detect these hidden knots and work them out before the start causing pain. Your bones might not also be lined up. If any of the bones from your hips to your ankles are out of their correct position, including the kneecap itself, that can put too much pressure on certain spots in the joint. Then your kneecap won’t move smoothly, which can cause pain.
Shoes. A new pair of shoes are nice but don’t be alarmed if they start causing your knee problems. We average 8,000 steps a day and that change of shoes could have put more weight on a structure that wasn’t used to the increased strain. Problems with your feet, such as hypermobile feet (when the joints in and around the feet move more than they should), fallen arches (flat feet), or over-pronation can also change the way you walk, which can in turn cause knee pain.
Exercise Daily. This might be the single most important thing for preventing degeneration. It sounds like an oxymoron, but increased load barring exercises not only preserve the joint but also keep the bones healthy.
Brace. If you’re playing a sport you’re not conditioned to or you’ve had an injury to your knee before, try wearing a brace.
Heel running. If you’re not sure if you have a proper running stride, try Googling “pose method.”