How To Prevent And Treat Runner’s Knee?

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Common running injuries

Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that has good effects on the body. It helps to improve stamina and burn off calories to keep the body in a lean manner. It also increases the good cholesterol level in the body and boost our immune system. However, running is a high impact sport and it is not meant for everyone. Because of their high impact nature, they can cause injuries to the ankles, knees, hip and even the spine. To take advantage of running and not like running take advantage of you, you need to be aware of the common injuries due to running and how are they caused so that you can take the necessary precautions and not fall victim to them.

Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome or otherwise commonly known as runner’s knee is caused by the irritation of the knee cartilage at the kneecap. It contributes roughly 45% to the overall injuries caused by running. As the duration and intensity of your running increases, the pain will intensify. It is usually caused by using running shoes that are of inferior quality or not meant for running so that the supports are insufficient. The running surface also matters and an uneven one will increase the risk. Insufficient recovery period in between runs also contributes to runner’s knee.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a result of inflammation of the tissue located at the bottom of the foot which connects our heel bone to our toes. Runners who have tight achilles tendons are at a higher risk of suffering from this injury. Wearing running shoes with poor support, long distance runners and flat feet runners also have an increased risk. Runners who suffer from plantar fasciitis will have weak and swollen feet and will have difficulty walking around.

Shin splints

Medial tibial stress syndrome or commonly known as shin splints results in sharp pain in the shin area due to inflammation of the tibia. It is normally caused by strenuous activities such as tennis and running. The pain will occur on and off for activities such as tennis and they can also stay throughout the activity such as a long distance run and will eventually result in the runner stopping the run due to the excruciating pain. Running on uneven roads and improper footwear with insufficient support will increase the risk of shin splints.

Above are 3 common running injuries. If you have noticed, all are caused by running on uneven surfaces with improper footwear that provides inadequate support for the foot. If you are having existing problems, the best bet would be to run on a treadmill which provides a constant flat surface. If you wish to run in a natural environment, invest some money in a good pair of running shoes and your feet will thank you for that. After all, spending a hundred dollars on a pair of good running shoes is cheaper than having to spent thousands on your medical bills in the future.