Are you suffering from runners knee?

Runners knee is a painful knee injury that runners experience when the cushioning cartilage under the knee cap becomes soft or worn and the knee cap no longer slides easily over the knee. Pain is felt behind or below the knee cap.

NOTE: If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your knee, you are probably suffering from IT band syndrome.

With runners knee, the knee pain feels worse after running downhill or walking downstairs. You may experience swelling and inflammation and hear clicking or popping sounds when moving the knee as the knee cap is off track. Sitting for long periods of time will aggravate the condition.

As with any injury you may experience, always seek advice from a medical professional.

Runners Knee

What caused this knee injury?

There are a number of possible causes for runners knee, but the problem doesn't originate in the knee. It can be caused by an incorrect running posture, foot strike or an imbalance of the muscles that support the knee. If you have weak quadriceps and tight hamstrings, it can create an imbalance that puts too much stress on the knees. Other possible causes are:

  • Over-training
  • A recent increase in mileage or speed
  • Running on uneven surfaces
  • Feet that overpronate
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Incorrect or worn shoes
  • Doing too much too soon after a rest period

What should I do now?

The most important part of recovery which no one wants to hear about is rest. It is essential to rest (sometimes for several weeks or more) to provide time for the tendons and ligaments to heal and the inflammation to settle. Without proper recovery, you may develop a chronic knee injury.

Try using positive affirmations to help you stay positive and speed recovery. Deep water running is a great way to maintain your fitness while taking a break from running. It is a non-impact workout that most closely emulates running.

Seek professional medical advice, which will probably involve physical therapy treatments to help balance the muscles that support the knees.

Some of the treatments that are regularly used to treat and speed recovery are:

  • An ice pack or cold wet towel
  • Alternate cold and heat therapy to promote healing
  • Anti-inflammatory tablets or gels to reduce swelling
  • Avoid stairs and sitting for long periods of time
  • Try quad strengthening exercises, i.e. walking or running backwards
  • Do straight leg lifts

When you get the ok to go back to running, start back slowly and gradually. You don't want to aggravate your knee pain. This is the time to re-evaluate your running posture and your running foot strike. If your form or your landing strike is the source of the problem, the knee injury will re-occur unless corrected.

Related articles:

Correct Running Posture
Running Foot Strike
Positive Affirmations

From Runners Knee Back to How to Prevent Injuries

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