Runner’s Knee is one of the most painful and common injuries for runners, hence its nickname. In medical terms, runner’s knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome or PFPS in official medical language. The pain will be slightly above or below the kneecap and under the bone itself. You might be able to hear a popping sensation when you move or see swelling in the knees, and it usually hurts the most when you run uphill, downhill, or up and down stairs. Here’s how to prevent this injury and deal with it when it does happen.
Why it happens
The most common trigger for runner’s knee is adding extra miles to your distance. Some runners will have this problem every time they decide to run further. Others might only experience it now and then. The other causes can be that you have poor core strength or that your running form is not strong enough. It can actually be related to problems in the lower back or the hip, such as not having the flexibility required for going up or down slopes or stairs. The biggest problem with runner’s knee is that it can happen with no warning.
How to prevent it
First of all, think about solving the issues that could potentially cause runner’s knee. Make sure that your exercise programme includes working on your core strength and also your flexibility. Pilates can help greatly with both areas if you are stuck for ideas. You should also make sure that you increase your distance gradually, rather than jumping up by a distance of a couple of kilometres every week, for example. Aim for a much more gradual increase that will not serve as such a shock to your system. Don’t push yourself too far, too fast – while it’s natural to want to see results and reach goals quickly, you might end up putting yourself two steps back because of this injury.
How to recover
One of the biggest mistakes that runners make is to carry on and push through the pain. This will cause a worse injury over time, and instead you should rest your knee whilst also seeking treatment as soon as possible. You should certainly undergo physiotherapy to ensure that your injury heals properly and as fast as it can. The experts at Bend + Mend will be able to recommend and take you through rehabilitating exercises. Again, go back to the root cause of the injury rather than just treating the injury itself. While you recover that knee, you should also be working on getting better movement in your lower back and hips, as well as strengthening your core area. This will help you recover much faster and avoid future injury
Once you know how to deal with runner’s knee, you will be much better equipped to stop it from happening in the first place. Keep working on core strength and flexibility. While there is still a chance that runner’s knee may come up again for you in the future, you should repeat your past steps to get the same results. Go for treatment immediately and work on removing the causes of this injury. Even if you do suffer from it again, working on your body to prevent it will also reduce the amount of pain that you feel each time it strikes.
Remember – pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong, so you should never just ignore it. Follow these tips, get professional attention and rest the injury.
By James Norwick Physiotherapy expert
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