Don’t be fooled by the name. Although runner’s knee is a common injury in runners, it can happen to anyone. If you want to avoid being sidelined with persistent knee pain, here is what you should know about runner’s knee:
What is Runner’s Knee?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or runner’s knee, is a broad term that describes pain felt in the knee. Most people who experience runner’s knee report a tender feeling around or behind the kneecap and feel their symptoms worsen after they finish an activity.
The knee may be the body’s largest joint, but it’s also extremely complex and easy to injure. Made up of four main bones, the knee’s main movements occur between the tibia, patella, and femur. The cartilage in the knee acts as a shock-absorber and when this cartilage is worn, it can cause the knee to become inflamed.
What Causes Runner’s Knee?
As its name suggests, runner’s knee is extremely common in runners, but it can affect individuals in any sport and for many different reasons.
For some, it’s just a matter of fixing their form. If you have poor running form, you are most likely putting extra stress on your knees and joints. To fix this, you might consider having someone watch your form or record you running so that you can make corrections.
Another cause of runner’s knee is overuse. Some activities such as running and biking involve a significant amount of repetitive motion, which can irritate the knee joint. Incorporating cross-training exercises into your fitness regimen can help reduce stress on your knees.
Other reasons an athlete might develop runner’s knee include patellar malalignment (where the patella is out of alignment), and weak thigh and calf muscles. To get to the bottom of your knee pain, see a doctor for a physical examination.
Treatment and Prevention
The treatment for runner’s knee will vary depending on the cause, which is why seeing a doctor for a physical examination is important. Based on your diagnoses, you may need to perform physical therapy exercises regularly or use orthotics.
Fortunately, surgery is rarely needed for patellofemoral pain syndrome, but it is essential that you follow your treatment plan carefully so that your knee pain doesn’t return and become worse.