Recovering Runner's Knee
Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a weekend jogger, runner’s knee can be a frustrating setback. In this blog, we’ll explore runner’s knee, the causes, symptoms, and effective strategies to recover and prevent future occurrences.
What is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s knee is a condition characterized by pain around or beneath the kneecap (patella), especially during physical activities like running, squatting, or climbing stairs. The patella is a small, flat triangular bone that forms part of the knee joint. Runner’s knee occurs when the patella doesn’t move smoothly during knee flexion and extension, and causes friction and irritation between the patella and the femur (thigh bone). It’s important to understand the root causes so that you and your healthcare professional can create your recovery plan effectively.
Causes and Risk Factors
Overuse: Often, the repetitive stress and strain on the knee joint can lead to irritation and inflammation. Physical activities such as running, jumping, or squatting can contribute to overworking your knee.
Muscle Imbalances: Weakness or muscle imbalances surrounding the knee can affect the patellar movement. Areas like the quadriceps and hamstrings are particularly important as they are close to the knee and can affect your knee.
Trauma or Injury: A direct blow to the knee or a fall can also contribute to the development of this condition as it can damage the patella or surrounding areas.
Signs and symptoms
- Dull, aching pain around or behind the kneecap
- Pain that worsens with physical activities like running, squatting, or climbing stairs
- Grinding or popping movements in the knee
- Swelling and inflammation around the knee joint
Recovering from Runner’s Knee
There are many recovery strategies that you can do to prevent and manage runner’s knee. One being rehabilitation techniques; this includes diving into physiotherapy and tools that can aid in rehabilitation, such as foam rollers, resistance bands, and performing targeted exercises. Another thing to keep in mind is proper running form and technique. This means evaluating your running form to identify potential issues contributing to pain in your knee. Adjusting your stride, or foot strike, can prevent the recurrence of runner’s knee. Lastly, working to prevent and strengthen your knee with strengthening exercises can address muscle imbalances in the surrounding areas of your knee while also promoting stability.
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis if you recognize signs and symptoms of runner’s knee. The treatment typically requires a combination of rest, physiotherapy, strengthening exercises, and the implementation of a recovery plan. By understanding the underlying causes and working to implement a recovery plan, you can get back on the track stronger than ever.