About 65 percent of all runners will experience injuries in any given year. Beginners are at higher risk than those who have been training for a long time. Runner’s knee is the most common repetitive strain injury among athletes and physically active individuals. It causes dull pain around the patella, restricting your mobility.
The good news is that runner’s knee can be easily treated. In addition to cold packs and rest, physiotherapy can help. It’s a safe, effective way to speed up healing and relieve pain.
Runner’s Knee at a Glance
Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a stress injury that causes pain and stiffness. It’s more common in people who participate in sports, such as runners, soccer players, and basketball players. However, you don’t have to be an avid runner to experience this problem. Everyday activities, such as biking and climbing stairs, may contribute to runner’s knee. Common causes and risk factors include:
- Direct trauma to the knee
- Flat feet
- Weak thigh muscles
- Misalignment of the patella
- Increased levels of physical activity
- Changes in footwear or playing surface
- Improper use of sports equipment
Most times, this type of injury results from activities that put repeated stress on the knee. It may also occur because of a fall or poorly fitting footwear. It’s estimated that runner’s knee accounts for up to 17 percent of all doctor’s visits.
Signs and Symptoms
The primary symptom is a dull, aching pain around the kneecap. The pain tends to get worse when you’re running, walking, squatting, sitting for a long time, or standing up. Some people may also experience grinding or popping sounds in the knee. Swelling may occur too.
Runner’s knee is not the same as iliotibial band syndrome. The latter causes pain on the outside of the knee. Both types of injuries are common among athletes and require a similar approach. Treatment usually involves exercises, ice packs, compression sleeves, and physical therapy.
How Does Physiotherapy Help?
Whether you want to prevent or treat runner’s knee, contact a physiotherapist. Since this condition is often caused by muscular imbalances or weaknesses, a specialist can prescribe exercises that strengthen your tight muscles. In case of pain and inflammation, he will recommend appropriate treatment.
A sports physiotherapist can diagnose this injury and rule out other similar conditions. Treatment will vary according to the specific underlying cause. It may include:
- Strength exercises
- Agility and sport-specific exercises
- Balance training
- Dry needling
- TENS machine treatment
- Ice therapy
For example, you may need to do exercises that strengthen the leg muscles. Quadriceps stretches, hamstring stretches, straight leg raises, side-lying leg lifts, step-ups, and foam rolling are just a few examples. Furthermore, your physiotherapist can recommend preventive measures and offer advice on how to keep fit and avoid future injuries.
The biggest advantage of working with a specialist is that he will create a custom exercise program according to your needs. Runner’s knee can have various causes, so the treatment will differ from one patient to another. With physical therapy, you will recover faster and prevent further damage to the knees.
At Back to Health, we specialize in sports injuries, back and knee injuries, neurological conditions, and much more. Our experts can identify the root cause of your problem, whether it’s pain, limited mobility, or poor flexibility. Contact us today at 888-312-5764 to schedule an appointment!