What Is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s knee is the broad term that sums up any pain around the kneecap or patella area. Like the name suggests, daily running is the most common culprit, although any sport that puts pressure on the knee joint, such as hiking, biking, or playing soccer, can lead to developing the condition.
Pain is caused by strained tendons or the irritation of soft tissues or the lining of the knee. Symptoms include feeling pain when walking, climbing stairs, squatting, kneeling, sitting down, and running. Runner’s knee may be caused by overuse, trauma to the kneecap, flat feet, weak thigh muscles, inadequate stretching, or arthritis. It is more common in women than men, and overweight individuals are especially prone to the disorder. Typically, your doctor will perform a physical exam and may order X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.
How to Treat Runner’s Knee
Most runner’s knee conditions can be treated without surgery. One method is to practice RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should avoid repetitive stress to the area and apply an ice pack for up to 15 minutes once every one to two hours. You can wrap your leg to add support to the knee and elevate your leg to reduce swelling. Taking anti-inflammatory medications is also recommended.
How to Prevent Runner’s Knee
To help prevent runner’s knee, modify your training schedule and activities. Try to run on softer surfaces and avoid running on stairs. Don’t increase weekly mileage by more than 10 percent each week.
Incorporate certain stretches before running to further prevent runner’s knee. Stretch out your hamstring by placing your left heel on the front leg of a chair, leaning forward from the hips, and holding for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
For strengthening, you can also try straight-leg lifts: Lie on your back, place your left foot on the ground with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle, slowly raise your right leg about 6 inches off the floor, hold for three seconds, and slowly lower back down. Repeat with the opposite leg.
For help recovering from runner’s knee and other sports-related injuries, contact Vereen today!