The general term Runner’s knee is medically termed as Patellofemoral pain syndrome. This pain syndrome is named so because the condition occurs mostly among runners. It has been suggested stress is generated during forceful running and that creates irritation at the articulation of kneecap (patella) and thigh bone, which creates Runner’s knee.
Runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome differ from patellar tendonitis. In patellar tendonitis, the tendon which is connecting kneecap and shin bone of the lower limb. Patellofemoral pain syndrome gets its name from the relevant anatomy around the knee. : the cause of the pain is the kneecap—the patella—rubbing against the groove in the femur, where it slides back and forth when you flex and extend the knee.
Runner’s knee is not only developed in the runners but who ever involved in knee bending activities for a prolonged period like biking, walking and jumping can develop Runner’s knee. Several knee pain related problems are termed as runner’s knee. However, runner’s knee does not indicate any specific injury. For example, breaking of cartilage present under the knee cap medically termed as chondromalacia patella, which can lead to runner’s knee symptoms. Women are more prone to develop Runner’s knee than men. Overweight is another influencing key factor for Runner’s knee development.
In India, the chance of developing Runner’s knee is very high, as Indian runner always feel proud to participate in Marathon. But the Indian roadways are not very smooth in everywhere, which can increase the tendency to develop Runner’s knee. In addition, motorcycle and cycles are a most common vehicle in India for the young generation. This also triggers the Runner’s knee symptoms. Indian females have higher tendency to become obese with increasing of age, which can increase the incidence of Runner’s knee in India.
There are multiple reasons can cause Runner’s knee. Indicative a single reason of runner’s knee is hard to discuss. Some biomechanical problems of the kneecap or patella can be caused Runner’s knee. In the knee joint, the external surface of the patella is larger than the internal side. In some cases, the position of the patella is extremely higher in the femoral groove or easy dislocation of the patella is also common in Runner’s knee. Injuries which irritate soft tissues or lining of the knee tissues, torn or worn cartilage or stressing tendons. Cartilage tearing can cause reduction of the shock absorption, whereas elevated-arched feet provide less cushioning. Excessive turning or pulling of the patella can occur due to flat knees or feet. Some of the muscle related reasons also lead to Runner’s knee. Pressure can generate in the knee due to the tightness of the calf muscles and hamstring. Quadriceps muscles weakness can cause the misalignment of the patella. Even the Runner’s knee can be contributed by the following reasons: recurring and tedious compel of a standard running gait without the interference of other causes can also be adequate to aggravate a pain symptom of the runner’s knee.
- Over use
- Trauma to knee joint or patella
- Twisting or misalignment of the patella
- Dislocation (partial/ complete) of the patella
- Flat feet
- Stiffness of the thigh muscles
- Thigh muscles weakness
- Improper workout training before strenuous physical activities/ exercise
- Joint degenerative disorder or arthritis
- Fractured kneecap
- Disease condition termed as synovial plica syndrome or plica syndrome, in which the inner layer of the tissue lining of the joint becomes thickened and inflamed
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, younger aged recreational runners usually develop this symptom. It has been also described that usually females have wider hips and that causes greater angle between thighbone and the knee bone. This generates more stress to kneecap and increase the higher female predominance than male.
Runner’s knee can be developed in single or both the legs. The pain symptom is the primary indication of Runner’s knee. In addition, the specific symptom of runner’s knee is tenderness of the center of the patella. Feeling the pain at the backward direction of the knee and a cracking sense in the knee is common. Straining up, climbing mountains, walking or running on an uneven surface can aggravate the Runner’s knee symptoms. In some cases, the back pain or hip pain can be pass on to the knee, which is termed as “referred pain.”
The nature of the pain in Runner’s knee is a type of ache feel around or at the back of the patella. The pain of the Runner’s knee may feel during walking, running, sitting for knee bending posture for prolonged period, climbing stairs, kneeling, change the posture from sitting down to standing up and squatting.
The other included symptoms of Runner’s knee are inflammation, grinding or popping in the knee.
Some precautionary measure can prevent Runner’s knee syndrome. The precautionary measures are not very tedious, but some careful steps can avert Runner’s knee syndrome.
- Over weight is one of the supportive cause for developing Runner’s knee syndrome. Therefore, body weight management is one of the primary precautionary measures to prevent Runner’s knee.
- Proper warm up is essential before practicing any physical exercise. Proper stretching can effective manner to the warm-up body.
- Avoid taking physical overload at a time. Gradual increasing of physical effort to perform a high level and strenuous work out is advisable.
- Good quality sports shoes are a very important precautionary measure for Runner’s knee.
- Replacement of sports shoes after 500 km is also important precautionary measure for Runner’s knee.
- During running maintain proper form, which includes knees bending position and forward leaning.
- It is always advisable to run and walk on a smooth surface and avoid running on the uneven surface.
- Follow the zigzag pattern to walk during stepping down.
Runner’s knee symptoms often managed by home remedies. The applicable home remedies for runner’s knee include:
Adequate rest: Repetitive or consecutive stress can aggravate knee pain. Adequate rest can assist to heal up the internal injury of the kneecap.
Ice pack compression: Ice pack compression can help to reduce pain and inflammation. After a workout exercise applies an Ice pack for 30 minutes.
Compression: Sleeve or elastic bandage wrapping around the knee can control inflammatory symptoms of the knee associated with runner’s knee. However, it is always suggested that authentic compression brace like Lumino Cielo Athletic Compression Knee Brace available on the Amazon for multiple knee pain related problems including joint pain relief, arthritis, injury recovery, sports, hiking, ACL recovery. This compression brace can also assist to recover runner’s knee.
Elevation: Placing a pillow under the knee during the sleeping or resting can restrict the swelling symptom of the runner’s symptom. Significant swelling is reduced by placing the leg in an elevated position above the knee and heart, as it facilitates blood circulation.
Runner’s knee does not cause serious health issue, but proper treatment is essential for normalize activities and improve the quality of life. Depending upon the underlying cause treatment planning is made to treat Runner’s knee.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen usually prescribed by the doctor to pain relief and reduction of inflammation. But long term use can cause side effects like bleeding, ulcers etc.
Gait analysis is a type of physical therapy for correcting the proper gait of the body.
Custom orthotics are applied to altering gait and assist to lessen the stress. But in some individuals, it may not be effective to relieve pain symptom of the Runner’s knee.
In the case of kneecap misaligning or cartilage damage, surgical intervention requires to realign kneecap and rectify cartilage damage.