What is Runner’s Knee?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee” is a dull, achy pain behind and around the kneecap. It is one of the most common injuries among runners, accounting for about 16.5% of injuries. That being said, it is not just a running injury; many athletes of all kinds struggle with patellofemoral pain syndrome at different times in their careers.
This dull pain can be aggravated by bending, squatting, sitting still for too long, and by running. All of which make this a difficult injury to train through.
It is hard to pinpoint what causes patellofemoral pain syndrome in different people. It can be everything from a large patella, the position of the patella, worn cartilage in the patella, tight hamstrings, tight calves, or even just the repetitive force of running.
Treating Runner’s Knee
It may be important to reduce the activity that caused the patellofemoral pain syndrome to begin with. If it was running, you may need to reduce the distance to allow the knee time to decrease inflammation and feel less sore.
Aside from reducing activity, runner’s knee can be treated by strengthening and stretching the tendons and muscles around the knee and hip. This helps relieve some of the stress being placed on the kneecap and allows it to rub less in the future, plausibly reducing the probability of getting runner’s knee more down the road.
Best Exercises to Help Treat Runner’s Knee
Standing hamstring stretch – Place one foot up on an object like a bench, box, or chair and lean forward towards your foot. Once you feel the stretch in your hamstring, hold for a few seconds and then switch legs.
Standing quad stretch – While standing, bend one knee and pull the foot up to the buttocks with one hand. Hold for a nice deep stretch, then switch legs.
Standing calf stretch – Caulk your foot backwards and place your forefoot and toes up on the edge of a wall, push your foot against the wall until you feel a good stretch in your calf. Hold for a few seconds, then switch legs.
Side bend stretch – While standing, cross one leg over the other. Lean your body into a side bend towards the right side when your right leg is in front, and towards the left side when your left leg is in front.
MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES
Lying side leg lift – Lie on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other. Lift the top leg straight up as high as possible and bring it back down; continue this leg lift for a few minutes, then switch sides and do the same exercise with the other leg.
Step up – Find a stair or block that is about 3 to 5 inches high. Place one leg on the bench and slowly stand up on the block with that one leg, and then slowly step back down. Do this a few times on the first leg, then switch legs and do the same steps on the other leg.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.