What is it?
This is the most common source of pain for runners. Runner’s knee (Patellofemoral pain syndrome) is caused by inflammation of the cartilage under the kneecap (patella).
What are the Signs/Symptoms?
The irritation usually hurts more during or after long runs, going down hills and stairs, and after prolonged periods of sitting.
What causes it?
Faulty biomechanics leading to inflammation cause the pain. Weak/tight quads, IT band, hamstrings, and glutes are the usual culprits. When the muscles that attach the hip to the knee are weak/tight they don’t allow the kneecap to track properly, which causes the inflammation and pain.
How to treat it?
First, take some extra rest days and reduce your mileage to let things heal faster. Try running only as far as is comfortable without pain. If the pain comes on early in a run then try biking, swimming, or running uphill until things feel better. Don’t run through the pain unless it disappears shortly after starting the run, and then make sure to stretch after. Ice works well in the beginning of treatment when the pain is sharp, and heat works well later when the pain is duller.
Stretching and strengthening the hips is also important to healing. Try foam rolling the quads and IT band after workouts. To strengthen the glutes try some sideplanks. Do 5 sets holding the pose for 10-15 seconds, 3 times a day.
Athletic tape may also help to reduce knee pain and is worth trying. Watch the video below to see how you can tape your knee at home. (Courtesy of Runners World)
Runner’s knee isn’t the end of the road for runners. If symptoms persist after trying these simple treatments then please stop by the office for a complimentary consultation.