“Runners knee” is a general term for any condition whereby one feels pain in the front part of their knee.
Conditions can include: patello-femoral pain syndrome, chondromalacia patellae, iliotibial band syndrome, jumper’s knee, or Osgood-Schlatters syndrome.
This condition is most common in runners and cyclists. Runner’s knee may also be observed in athletes who participate in tennis, volleyball, soccer and skiing and hiking. It is also found in those that participate in sports on a sporadic basis, i.e., the weekend warrior athlete.
The pain is usually located in the front of the knee behind the kneecap. The symptoms often get worse, not only after running, but also jumping, climbing or going down stairs, or after a prolonged period of sitting.
There is also reoccurring pain even after taking a few days off, and a grinding sound clicking when moving your knee.
There are multiple causes of runners knee, and proper runners knee treatment must address all these issues. Not all sufferers will have these causes. They are:
- weak and tight quadriceps
- a higher than normal Q angle
- improper shape or form when executing exercises or activity – this is a big habit in runners you focus too much on running “to China” instead of incorporating interval workouts and strength conditioning
- doing do much too soon
- not accustomed to running on uneven terrain
- overweight issues
- lack of omega-3s in diet
- stress (even if you don’t consciously realize it)
- lack of medication or surgery (just kidding)
- improper foot wear
Runners Knee Treatment Secrets?
I would like to advise that the most common runners knee treatments advised help manage this condition, but they are not very effective treatments in the long run.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation are the primary treatments advised for an acute condition or flare up. It is particularly important to use the four treatments when inflammation or swelling is noticeable and when the area feels warm to the touch.
Braces can provide compression to allow athletes to continue playing, although continuing to play when pain is felt may not be the best idea. When the pain is chronic but not serious, braces work better than anything else, as they provide additional support.
As you may gathered in my joke above, medications such as anti-inflammatories, although advised, are not helpful. In fact, they make things worse, because they “help” you ignore your body’s warning signal telling you something is not right and needs correction.
Runners knee treatment exercises commonly advised include squats and leg extensions since both of these strengthen the quads. However, care needs to be taken when performing these. Remember, if you have runners knee, you likely will feel more pain during squatting.
It is much more beneficial to strengthen your core and hamstrings and relax your lateral quads (with massage, active release techniques, etc) than to do squats right away.
Proper footwear and orthotics are essential as well.
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