runners knee treatment

Overview of runner’s knee

Firstly, runners knee means it doesn’t affect only runners. It’s a broad term that describes pain you feel around the kneecap, also known as the patella. However, as the name suggests, it mostly affects athletes involved certain games, but any activity that stresses your knee joint can lead to runners knee which includes walking, biking, cycling, jumping, and playing soccer etc.

There are various conditions causing knee pain which include anterior knee pain syndrome, chondromalacia patella, patellofemoral poo syndrome(PFPS), and iliotibial band syndrome(ITBS).

How To Recognise Runner’s Knee?

The symptoms of runner’s knee build over time unlike a sudden knee injury such as ligament tear. The major symptom of runner’s knee is dull, aching pain around the kneecap, or patella, especially the joint meeting the lower part of your thighbone or femur.

You may experience pain even when:

  • While walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Sitting down
  • Squatting 
  • While kneeling down
  • Standing up
  • Running 
  • sitting for a long time bending your knee

Some other symptoms include swelling around the knee and popping or grinding feeling in the knee.

In the case of iliotibial band syndrome(ITBS), you may experience intense pain outside of the knee where the iliotibial band is located. It extends from the hip to your lower leg connecting the tibia, or the inner bone of the lower leg.

What Causes Runner’s Knee?

Several factors can lead to runner’s knee. It may be due to irritation of the soft tissues lining the knee joint, torn cartilage or strained tendons due to injuries etc. Any of the following can also contribute to runner’s knee:

  • Overuse of knee joint like
  • Injury to the kneecap
  • Misalignment of knee bones
  • Dislocation of the kneecap
  • Problems with the feet, like hypermobile feet, flat feet
  • Weak or tight femur muscles
  • Poor stretching before exercise
  • Knee arthritis
  • Synovial plica syndrome where the lining of the joint becomes thick and inflamed
  • Referred pain where the pain begins in the hip or your back and is carried out to the knee.

How To Treat Runner’s Knee Problem?

Runner’s knee often gets better in many people on its own with time and with proper treatment to address the problem causing knee pain. To administer proper treatment orthopaedic knee doctors evaluate the problem considering your age, overall health, the reason for pain etc. 

To get relief from the pain and speed up recovery, you need to follow the below measures.

  • Rest your knee as much as possible and avoid activities that strain your knee.
  • Put ice on your knee to relieve pain and swelling. 
  • Wrap your knee with elastic bandage, or sleeves to provide extra support
  • Place a pillow while you sit or lie down to provide elevation to your knee.
  • Do stretching exercises to improve the knee strength.
  • Try arch supports for your shoes to position your feet.
  • If the case of intense pain relief, you can take certain OTC medication or NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

Even after trying these techniques, if your knee still hurts,  consult an orthopaedic surgeon for better evaluation of the problem and proper treatment. Even it is rare, you may need to undergo surgery in severe instances of runner’s knee. An orthopaedic knee surgeon can remove or replace your damaged part of knee in severe cases. For more information or facing any knee problems contact our orthopaedic specialist.

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