Runner’s knee means that you have dull pain around the front of the knee (patella). This is where the knee connects with the lower end of the thigh bone (femur). Runner’s Knee is technically called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Runner’s knee is the common term used to describe any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap, also known as the patella.
These conditions include anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, chondromalacia patella, and iliotibial band syndrome. Running is a common cause of runner’s knees, but any activity that repeatedly stresses the knee joint can cause the disorder. This can include walking, skiing, biking, jumping, cycling, and playing soccer. Runner’s knee earned its nickname because of how frequently it strikes a specific type of athlete. With treatment, most people can relieve their pain and return to the activities they enjoy, including running.
Unlike many other bones, your kneecap floats freely, moving back and forth as you bend your leg. In a perfect world, it would travel in a straight line along the groove at the end of your thigh bone, or femur. The kneecap then rubs against the thigh bone, causing knee pain and swelling that often worsens with activity. Weaknesses in muscles that stabilise your lower leg and flex your toes can also contribute to knee pain. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the patella, or kneecap.
It is sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee” because it is common in people who participate in sports—particularly females and young adults—but patellofemoral pain syndrome can occur in non-athletes, as well. The pain and stiffness it causes can make it difficult to climb stairs, kneel, and perform other everyday activities. Many things may contribute to the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Problems with the alignment of the kneecap and overuse from vigorous athletics or training are often significant factors.
Causes of Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee is usually caused by weakness and/or a lack of flexibility in the muscles that support the knee. Your quadriceps and hip flexors should hold your kneecap in place, so it tracks up and down. But if they’re weak, your kneecap moves left and right and ends up scraping your cartilage, causing painful friction and irritation. Runner’s knee may be caused by a structural defect or a certain way of walking or running. Other causes may include:
- A kneecap that is too high in the knee joint
- Weak thigh muscles
- Tight hamstrings
- Tight Achilles tendons
- Poor foot support
- Walking or running with the feet rolling in while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward
- Excessive training or overuse
- A fractured kneecap
Plica syndrome or synovial plica syndrome, in which the lining of the joint becomes thickened and inflamed
In some cases, pain begins in the back or hip and is transmitted to the knee. This is known as “referred pain.”
Symptoms of Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee symptoms are associated with activity-related pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. While the pain develops during athletic activity, it can often be most pronounced afterwards during a period of rest. Pain is also felt after sitting for a long period with the knees bent – the bent position increases the pressure between the kneecap and femur. Kneeling, squatting, or direct pressure on the front of the knees may be uncomfortable as well. These are the most common symptoms of runner’s knee:
- Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active. Or pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.
- Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear when you bend and straighten your knee
- Kneecap that is tender to the touch
Treatment for Runners Knee
The healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
How old are you?
Your overall health and health history.
How much pain do you have?
How well can you handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies?
How long is the condition expected to last?
Your opinion or preference.
The best course of treatment for a runner’s knee is to stop running until you can run again without pain. Other treatment may include:
- Cold packs
- Elevating the leg
- Compression knee wrap
- Medicines such as ibuprofen
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Arch support in shoes
While certain predisposing factors such as kneecap and leg alignment are not in the control of an athlete, other preventative measures can be taken to minimize the risk of “runner’s knee”. Runner’s Knee Exercises include:
Keep your weight down: the patellofemoral joint experiences forces that are 8 to 10 times our body weight, such that even small reductions in weight can significantly reduce the forces on the kneecap.
Stretch before running or jumping activities: Strains of the patellar tendon, quadriceps tendon, or other soft tissues that stabilise the patella can cause significant anterior knee pain. Warming up and stretching both before and after exercise can help to prevent strain injuries to these structures.
Wear proper shoes and orthotics: Flat feet (“pronated” feet) can predispose to mistracking problems and knee pain. Orthotics to reconstitute the arch of the foot can help to alleviate these symptoms.
In rare circumstances, the knee will continue to be painful and refractory to all of the nonoperative measures described above. When the pain of “Runner’s Knee” prevents the athlete from returning to play, surgery may be considered. The specific treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the pain. For further information regarding this, you can keep touch with Medisys Hospital. Medisys Hospitals is a growing Orthopedic Hospital in Hyderabad that represents the vision and mission of a group of highly qualified and experienced veteran medical professionals. At Medisys Hospitals, offer a wide range of specialised treatments and surgical options for your orthopaedic problems. You can trust them for their responsibilities.