How To Prevent And Treat Runner’s Knee?

What is Runner’s Knee (PFPS)?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or commonly known by its nickname as Runner’s Knee is a common problem among runners. Due to the extended hours of pounding on the asphalt, the patella can be irritated when it rests on the thighbone. The pain experienced can be sudden and is often on and off. It can be felt before and after running, but not during the run itself. In this article, we’ll look at how to prevent and treat Runner’s Knee.

Causes of Runner’s Knee

One of the main causes of Runner’s Knee is due to the hard surface that runners run on. Most runners choose to run on pavements along the roads instead of stadiums or on grass surfaces. Although running on the roads may seem less boring and make the run more enjoyable, the hard surface is extremely bad on the knee.

Preventing PFPS

To prevent PFPS, you should run on softer and natural surfaces like turf. Running shoes also play an important role in the prevention of PFPS. A pair of cushioned and stability shoes provide great support to the knee, calf and ankles during the run and helps to absorb any shocks experienced by the leg. Recently, barefoot running has been the craze but this is still being debated. When we run barefoot, the foot can run naturally instead of being forced to in a direction when wearing shoes. This way, the load of the patellofemoral joint is reduced but instead, it creates additional stresses on the calf and Achilles tendon. So, instead of PFPS, runners may now suffer from calf or tendon Achilles pain.

Runner’s Knee Treatment

In order to treat Runner’s Knee, the simplest way is to cut back on your running mileage when you first experience pain and start to avoid activities that will involve working out the knee. As the pain subsides, strengthening exercises on the knees, quadriceps and hips should be performed in order to increase strength and flexibility to better support the knee. During the transitional period, you should still continue to work out your body using equipments that are less damaging to the knee such as the usage of a stationary bike or swimming.

Final Thought

To be honest, PFPS is not exactly a serious condition and it’s simply a chronic failure of tissues in the knee. Plenty of rest is required in order to prevent any further aggravation to the knee. If the pain gets unbearable, you may request for pain relief medication from your doctor to provide temporary relief.

2 Exercises to Prevent ACL Injuries

There are a total of four major ligaments in our knee whose function is to provide stability to the knee joint. One of the most important one is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). There are numerous fibrous bands attaching the ACL to the bones and that helps to keep motion in check and prevent excessive ones. It also prevents the lower leg from going into hyper extension. Due to the many types of forces experienced by the ACL, it is much easier to be injured compared to the other 3 ligaments. In this article, we will look at some exercises that can help to prevent ACL injuries.

ACL injuries are the most common knee injuries. Every year, many people tear or rupture their ACL due to various reasons, with the most common being sports. When the ACL is extended to beyond its maximum capability, it ruptures. Unlike bones that can heal on its own over time, ligaments do not heal on its own and once it is damaged, it will be permanently damaged and will require surgical means to aid in a full recovery. Situations where the ACL can be ruptured usually involve sudden directional changes or deceleration. In soccer, it can be as simple as a sudden change in direction to shield the ball from an opponent, with a hard twist while the studs of the boots are still firmly in the ground, causing the knee to twist and rupturing the ACL.

Lateral hops

Lateral hops simulate jumping and landing actions which are extremely common in almost every sport and is one of the major causes of ACL injuries. The body is designed in a way where the knee will cushion the impact from any jumps and hence it is important to “teach” our knee muscles how to properly absorb shocks. The main idea of lateral hops is to cultivate a good landing technique and thus it is important to land firmly on the ground without any shuffling actions.

Leg balance squats

Leg balance squats as the name suggests help to cultivate balance in the legs. It drives the legs forward and a quick switch to the other, creating a chain reaction. This way, the body can easily drive one leg to the side in order to work the hips and lower extremities to provide balance to the body when faced with any trauma, reducing the chances of an ACL injury.

Since our body is designed as a linkage system where every muscle group contributes to the control of the knee and the ligaments, a total body core muscle strengthening program should be put in place to help prevent ACL injuries.

Causes and Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Our knee joint is where the femur and tibia meets. This unique combination allows a wide range of motion for the knee under undisturbed conditions. However due to certain complications such as injuries, the surface of the knee joint is damaged and mobility is hindered as a result. There are basically 3 kinds of arthritis affecting the knee: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-trauma Arthritis. In this article, we will be looking at the causes and symptoms of knee arthritis.

Causes

We must first understand the differences between the 3 kinds of knee arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis and is a degenerative disease that is often accompanied by ageing. Due to wear and tear, the joint cartilage starts to wear off and this results in pain and inflammation when the knee joint rubs against each other. On the other hand, unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which our body’s immune system attacks the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis can happen to anyone from any age group. Last but not least is post-trauma arthritis which is essentially caused by direct trauma to the knee. This direct trauma causes damage to the cartilage and changes the joint mechanics, accelerating wear and tear.

Symptoms

Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something located somewhere in your body is wrong. Pain is due to the secretion of chemical signals to your brain which are then recognised as pain. Knee arthritis causes inflammation to the affected joint. This inflammation causes swelling and damages the surrounding soft tissues. In an attempt to reduce stresses on the injured part, the surrounding muscles will try to overload themselves but this will cause muscle soreness after a period of time, contributing to the pain experienced.

Crepitus

Crepitus is characterised by a creaking and grinding sensation when you attempt to move your injured joint.  This is due to cartilage wear down in the spaces between the knee joints. Crepitus can be painful or painless depending on individual conditions.

Knee giving way

Some patients may experience sensations of their knee giving way. This is due to the joint being unstable and the surrounding muscles being fatigued from having to take over the duties of the injured joint. Patients may require walking aids such as a walker or crutches and may use knee braces to stabilise and provide support to the knee joint.

There are various methods of managing arthritis ranging from oral supplements to surgery. However, these do not effectively heal the patient. Scientists are looking at cartilage transplants in the future which could lessen the amount of pain.