What is Runners Knee?
Runners knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), is one of the most common injuries a runner might face. What makes it challenging is it’s complexity and sensitivity.
PFPS is pain from the tissues within or surrounding the joint between the knee cap (patella) and the femur. The patella rests in a groove on the femur where it acts like a pulley. It transmits the force of the quadriceps muscle onto the tibia via the patella tendon.
What causes Runners Knee?
Runner’s knee is generally recognised as an overuse injury. There is often a bio-mechanical error as the underlying cause. This might include running style, incorrect running shoes or muscle imbalances.
PFPS is usually aggravated by activities with high loading. These activities include squatting, lunging, kneeling, descending stairs, running (especially downhill). It is also aggravated by prolonged periods of the joint being bent (flexion). This can occur whilst sitting long periods. This is sometimes called movie goers knee.
Work and lifestyle also play a big part, it’s not just sport. Certain jobs may involve a great deal of kneeling. These may include carpenters, plumbers, tilers, carpet fitters etc.
How to treat Runners Knee
Initially you need to reduce the load to the knee. This may also require limiting your running or at least run in a way that reduces the pain. Remember this is only temporary until the symptoms subside. If your job involves a lot of kneeling then using gel knee pads and taking regular breaks from the position will help.
Anti-inflammatories or acupuncture for pain relief will also help. Ice is also a good option to reduce pain and swelling. If it’s been niggling a while it’s also worth giving heat a try.
Massage and mobilisation is used to help the condition. Strength and conditioning can follow this for rehabilitation. The running clinic may also be recommended if your condition is strongly linked to running.
A combination of some or all of the following maybe recommended in the treatment of runner’s knee: