As one of the most common injuries experienced by physical activity enthusiasts, runner’s knee causes pain right behind and around the knee cap. Otherwise referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome, this condition can affect almost anyone that engages in regular physical activity. Usually, the injury occurs due to movements that direct a load on the knee area in a flexed position. Even more, the condition is common among individuals who rarely engage in physical activity and those with health issues.
For instance, any time you hit your stride, you cause an impact to the bent knee as you leap forward. This causes pain in that it stresses the structure of the knee. However, while runner’s knee can cause pain and compromise your performance, it often isn’t a structure complication. The problem relates to the functionality and movement of the muscles. In most cases, Patellofemoral pain occurs due to abnormal knee mechanics that occur due to problems in the knee.
Causes Of Runner’s Knee
Although you might feel some pain in the knee, the genuine source of the discomfort usually exists above or below the knee. Weak muscles in your core or hips are also to blame for runner’s knee issues. These muscles are designed to accommodate the weight of the pelvis and thighs in the appropriate position. However, when these parts are not up to the task, the knees move inward, thereby moving the kneecap out of position. However, these are the two common causes:
- Weak hips and inner quads- people who have robust hip flexors and weaker posterior muscles are likely to suffer from this health complication. Any weakness in such areas, causes the femur to rotate inward, thereby causing the patella to touch the femoral groove. As a result, the user might experience pressure and pain, especially during intense physical workouts. However, by developing these muscles, the individual can reduce the issues of femur movements, which can compromise the running movement.
- Tight Hamstrings and Hips- even though weak muscles can lead to misalignment in running form that might cause pain, so might tight muscles. Tight muscles will compromise the ability of the runner to be mobile. Due to the limited range of motion in the hips and hamstring, the runner might suffer from runner’s knee.
When To See A Doctor
While runner’s knee is not a serious issue, you might have to visit the doctor when the problem gets worse. For instance, if you come across issues such as swelling or intense pain when moving, contact the doctor. They can provide information on the specific issue, and rule out structural damage issues. More so, if you come across pain and have tried proven workout techniques, then you should contact the doctor.
Exercises To Prevent Runner’s Knee
Side Leg Lifts
Lie on your right side, with your legs straight and placed on top of each other. You can consider resting the head on top of the right arm and place the left hand on the thigh or the floor. This helps improve your balance as you engage in the exercise. Raise the top leg straight as far as you can, and then lower it down. Repeat this exercise 5 times.
Lay on your back on the ground with arms at the sides, knees bent and place the feet flat on the ground. Lift the backside from the ground, until you form a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Push the heels to the ground, and ensure that you glutes help in achieving balance. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then lower the body back down.
Lie on the right side of the body, and place the knees in a bent position on top of each other. Also, place the right arm under your head for added support. More so, ensure the feet are together and open the clamshell by raising the top of the knee. As the hips rotate during the exercise, the core and pelvis should be well balanced. Repeat this process 10 times.
Treating Runner’s Knee
To treat runner’s knee, you have to consider a host of unique techniques and approaches for the best outcomes. Some of these approaches include:
- Rest – this is the first defense against any injury that comes up as a result of physical workouts. Ensure that you take some time of your workout schedule to rest from the pain. However, if it persists after the rest period, then consider secondary measures. More so, you can also consider switching to low impact activities such as swimming, or an activity that does not require bending of the knees.
- Ice your Knee – ice therapy is known to be a leading treatment technique for pain. Consider placing a bag of ice over the body area that experiences the pain. Conduct this process for an average of 10 minutes, every day until the pain ceases.
- Nurse the knee – furthermore, you can also consider supporting the knee with the pain by using special elastic bandages and wraps. These wraps should help regulate the movement of the knee, especially during intense workouts.
- Elevate the knee – another useful technique that works in reducing the effects of runner’s knee is to have it to place on a higher platform. Doing so helps reduce any pain that arises for intense physical workouts.
- Take drugs – you may also consider consuming drugs as part of the healing process. Your doctor can help in recommending useful painkillers that you can use whenever you experience the problem.
Even though runner’s knee can cause pain and compromise your workouts, it’s a problem that you can solve easily. In most cases, the condition occurs to lack of fitness or an unusual structure of the body muscles. As such, controlling the issue will require you to conduct the special exercise, and avoid skipping workouts. However, there are no secondary issues that are associated with runner’s knee. If the pain fails to cease, then you might consider consulting with a medical professional.