Runner’s Knee: A general term that describes a number of specific knee conditions that cause pain.
Runner’s knee is a common musculoskeletal problem in runners, jumpers, skiers, cyclists, soccer players, basketball players, volleyball players, and other athletes. Runner’s knee is a general term that describes several knee-specific disorders, including chondromalacia patella, patellofemoral malalignment, and anterior knee pain syndrome.
Runner’s knee is a health problem that usually affects young, otherwise healthy individuals, and it occurs when the underside of the patella, or kneecap, becomes irritated. The underside of the patella, or the side of the patella closest to the body, is lined with a layer of smooth cartilage that helps the kneecap glide over the knee joint during knee bending. If the patella rubs against part of the knee joint, an affected person may develop cartilage irritation that leads to knee pain. The pain or discomfort of runner’s knee is usually most acutely felt with knee bending or after sitting with the knee bent for prolonged periods.
Signs & Symptoms
Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with runner’s knee include:
- Knee popping or grinding
- Swelling in the affected area
- Pain behind or around the kneecap
- Pain that’s made worse with downhill walking
- A dull, aching pain behind or around the kneecap
- Pain that is worse with knee bending (squatting, walking, stair climbing, sitting)
One or more factors may cause runner’s knee, including:
- Tight IT band
- Inadequate stretching
- Kneecap malalignment
- Direct trauma to the knee
- Foot conditions such as flat feet
- Overuse (excessive tendon strain)
- Thigh muscle weakness or imbalance
Most mild to moderate cases of runner’s knee will usually self-resolve, although a person with this problem may improve his or her healing time by doing the following:
- Wearing Correct Toes toe spacers
- Resting the knee as much as possible
- Using natural anti-inflammatory agents
- Elevating the knee when lying down or sitting
- Using an elastic bandage to compress and support the involved knee
- Performing stretching and strengthening activities prescribed by a physician
- Wearing proper men’s or women’s footwear (i.e., flat, wide, and flexible shoes)
General strategies to help prevent runner’s knee include using appropriate footwear, maintaining good general health, and increasing training volume and intensity gradually.