Activa Sports Therapy Blog

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee

The low-down on Runner’s Knee

As passionate runners, we know how frustrating running injuries can be.

One of the most common running injuries we treat is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), more commonly known as Runner’s Knee. As the name suggests, it is characterised by pain in and around the knee joint and accounts for up to 20% of running ailments.

The main symptom of runner’s knee is a mild pain that is felt intermittently, and experienced only when running. After time, the pain becomes stronger and felt more often.

Runner’s Knee can throw training off track. Our Physiotherapists specialise in assisting those with running injuries, and in this blog post, we explain the common symptoms of Runner’s Knee, possible causes and treatment options.

What is Runner’s Knee? The technical information
Runner’s Knee is localised pain around the patella (kneecap). Pain is often felt when the patella rubs against the socket/groove in the femur (leg bone) when you extend your leg, thus flexing your knee.

Aggravating motions include squatting, running downhill, descending stairs and prolonged sitting. Resting legs (i.e legs extended) or pushing against the kneecap can also cause tenderness.

Science has not been able to identify a single cause or action that causes Runner’s Knee. Common theories are:
*Increasing training distance before the body is ready to sustain it. Overuse of muscles and ligaments can lead to aggravation
*Quadriceps (thigh muscles) that hold the patella in place are weak
*Incorrect footwear that does not provide support when running
*Poor running style or undiagnosed flat feet without the use of orthotics, which can put pressure on the knee joint

Runner’s Knee can also cause referred pain in the hip when the weak knee causes it to ‘collapse’ towards the centre of the body. Therefore, when experiencing any pain from running, it is critical to speak to a professional and identify the root cause of the pain.

Treatment
Our physiotherapists will review the site of pain and run a series of tests to identify the cause of Runner’s Knee. As this can demand multiple sessions, therapies such as tight strapping, manipulation, foaming and stretching can provide immediate relief. Other techniques may include:
*Studying the biomechanics of runners
*Hip strengthening exercises
*Pain relief for the knee

Remember never to ‘run through the pain’. To assist with the healing process,  elevate and ice the knee. For best results, make an appointment with a physiotherapist to diagnose the injury and provide you with effective treatment solutions.

The good news is that PFPS is a mild injury and can easily be treated. The sooner your therapy begins, the sooner you will be back on your feet and running – pain-free.

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