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How To Help Runners Knee

What Should I Do About Heel Pain

Knee Pain When Running? | How To Avoid Runner’s Knee

Andy recommends applying ice to the area. He says the best way to do this is to freeze a small bottle of water, then place it on the floor and roll it back and forth under your foot for about 20 minutes. Never place ice directly on your skin.

There are also several stretches you can do to help heel pain. See the Health A-Z section on treating heel pain for guidance on how to do them.

Stop running and see a GP straight away if there’s a lot of swelling in the heel or the area under your foot. Otherwise, see a GP after a week to 10 days if the pain does not go away.

What Is Jumper’s Knee

Jumper’s knee also called patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when a tendon is overloaded, causing it to thicken. I see this most often in younger patients who complain about pain in the front of the knee.

It can be especially painful when you squat, jump or land. Jumper’s knee typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood.

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Have Knee Pain Or Injury Now Learn To Rice First

Image credit: Verywellhealth.com

R.I.C.E. is a common acronym among athletes with injuries and stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Runners follow this advice for many muscle-related injuries .

Rest: Stop running. Rest for a few days, or even weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. Do not start up again too soon or you risk re-injuring yourself. Proper healing is important to runners knee recovery!

Ice: My Physical Therapist generally recommends icing for 24-48 hours after the injury. Icing reduces muscle and tissue inflammation by reducing blood flow. Place a bag of ice onto the knee for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. After 24-48 hours, some professionals say to switch to heat it increases blood flow again to start healing the torn and bruised muscle and tissues.

Compression: Use a compression bandage or wear a compression knee brace. Again, this is to reduce and prevent swelling in the knee. Use caution though dont wrap the knee too tightly.

Elevation: For the first day or so after the injury, prop your leg up to elevate it higher than your heart to further reduce the swelling. Elevating the injury is best kept to the day of the injury .

Its always better to rest an injury before getting back out there. Runners knee is no exception.

Now lets talk about how to prevent runners knee from happening in the first place.

Runners Knee Exercises To Avoid

How to Fix Runner

Now that weve talked about runners knee exercises that can help, lets talk about the ones you should certainly avoid.

First of all, youll want to avoid overuse of your knees. That often means you may need to rest more than youre used to.

Youll also need to avoid putting excessive stress on your knees. That means, dont do exercises that put a load on your knee when its already bent. This is what causes runners knee in the first place, so its important to avoid it when treating the issue.

The two most common exercises that youll want to avoid with runners knee are:

  • Leg press machines
  • Squats and deep knee bends

The good news is, almost everything else is relatively safe and actually encouraged.

Need some assistance figuring out whats safe when dealing with runners knee. Contact our physiotherapists today. Our mobile services come to you or you can visit us at any of our convenient locations throughout Australia.

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What Should I Do About Runner’s Knee

To help knee pain at home, Andy recommends applying ice to the knee and stretching.

Hold ice on the painful area for around 20 minutes a few times a day. Never put ice directly on your skin.

To stretch the area, Andy recommends lying on your side with your bad leg on top.

Bend your top leg so your foot goes back towards your bottom, then hold it there with your hand and keep both knees touching.

Hold the stretch for at least 45 seconds, breathing deeply and feeling the stretch in the thigh. Repeat this around 6 times a day.

If the pain’s severe or the knee’s swollen, see a GP straight away.

If your knee pain is not severe, stop running and get it checked by a GP or physiotherapist if the pain does not go away after a week.

They can also recommend stretches or exercises to help you recover.

Pick The Correct Running Shoes For To Save Your Knees

Picking the right pair of running shoes can be really challenging, thats for sure! However its such an important part of you being able to run without knee pain.

Your knees, and the patellofemoral joints in particular thrive on stability and alignment of your knees to be able to function properly, without knee pain as you run. That stability comes from the joints above and below the knees, namely the hips, feet and ankles.

Ill talk more about hip stability later in this article. However, when it comes to the foot and ankle, the stability provided by the inherent characteristics of your feet and your choice of running shoes will massively influence the way your patellofemoral joint loads as you run.

Because of the repetitive nature of the running gait cycle, small areas of overload around your knees caused by a bad footwear choice, will build-up over time and potentially cause you knee pain, or another injury.

The best advice I can realistically give you without seeing your feet, is to get yourself to a specialist running store. Not one of the big-box sports outlets, but a proper old school running shop with staff who actually run and geek-out about running shoes.

Theyll be able to look at your running gait and suggest the right amount of support, cushioning, heel-to-toe drop etc you need in a running shoe to accommodate your individual biomechanics.

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What Causes Runners Knee

Runners knee can happen for a variety of reasons, many of them having to do with the muscles and bones of the leg. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Direct trauma to the knee. Falling on your knee or taking a blow to the knee can dislocate the patella or move it out of place, causing it to track incorrectly along the femoral groove.
  • Excessive training or overuse. Repeatedly bending and flexing the knee can irritate the nerves around your kneecap and strain your tendons to the point of discomfort.
  • Misalignment of the patella. If your kneecap is out of alignment, activities like running or biking can wear down the cartilage of the kneecap , which can lead to pain and irritation in the underlying bone and joint lining.
  • Tight or weak leg muscles. Tight hamstrings and calf muscles can put excessive pressure on the knee when you run, and weak quadriceps muscles can result in misalignment of the kneecap.
  • Foot problems. Flat feet, also called fallen arches or overpronation, can stretch the muscles and tendons of your leg and lead to pain in the knee.

Should I Get A Bone Scan Or Mri

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In all my research, personal experience, interviews, and coaching experience, Ive never found mention of MRI or CT Scans being helpful in diagnosing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

However, bone scans have shown to be worthwhile for chronic sufferers who want a more definitive diagnosis. If the patella is truly distressed or tired like we discussed in the previous section, it will show up on a bone scan. A bone scan works when youre given an injection with a tiny amount of radioactive material. It shows up on the scan and spreads wherever your blood goes .

Bone scans are expensive and Id ask your doctor if its appropriate if you have chronic PFPS. My research has concluded that this type of scan can confirm a PFPS diagnosis and help isolate the overused tissue.

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Exercises For Runners Knee

For runners knee pain, try a variety of exercises that focus on strengthening the knee, hips, and quadriceps. You can also stretch out your hip flexors and hamstrings.

Strengthening will help to keep the knee stable while running, as well as help to increase leg flexibility and reduce tightness.

Most of the exercises below can be performed on one or both legs. If you feel knee pain on either side, back off the stretch and skip that exercise.

For best results, try performing each exercise daily for six weeks.

What Is Runner’s Knee

Though runner’s knee has a medical name patellofemoral pain syndrome the injury is a general term used to describe pain in the patella, aka your kneecap. One October 2017 study in Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine even referred to the term as a “wastebasket,” since it’s such a catch-all term.

Because of this, being diagnosed with PPS can be a bit frustrating. “No one actually knows what exactly causes patellofemoral pain syndrome and it’s associated knee pain,” says Lindsey Plass, a physical therapist based in Chicago.

Though a single cause hasn’t been identified, Ullman notes that the pain comes from the kneecap rubbing against areas of the rest of the knee it isn’t supposed to. Because of this, symptoms can include a dull ache or sharp pain, stiffness, and/or grinding or clicking on or around the patella. The result? Pain and inflammation.

The good news is that for most people there are nonsurgical treatment options. Ullman says typical treatment involves cold packs, anti-inflammatory medications and a stretching and strengthening program from a physical therapist.

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Treating Runners Knee At Home

The R.I.C.E. principles can be used to manage the acute symptoms of many soft tissue injuries, including Runners Knee.

  • Rest:Avoid repetitive stress on the knee.
  • Ice:To reduce pain and swelling, apply an ice pack to the knee for up to 30 minutes at a time and avoid any heat to the knee.
  • Compression: Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or sleeve to restrict swelling but not too tightly as to cause swelling below the knee.
  • Elevation: Place a pillow under your knee when sitting or lying down to prevent further swelling. When there is significant swelling, keep the foot elevated above the knee and the knee above the level of the heart.

In Summary Knee Pain Doesnt Mean The End Of Your Running Career


I hope this post highlights that you can do things to prevent and treat runners knee!

Dont give up.

And above all else when in doubt, see a professional.

Visiting my physical therapist was the BEST thing Ive ever done for running. Hes helped me through various injuries and pains.

There is help, and there is hope dont let knee pain ruin your running fun!

Want some help preventing running injuries?

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How Can I Prevent Runner’s Knee

  • Keep your thigh muscles strong and limber with regular exercise.
  • Use shoe inserts if you have problems that may lead to runner’s knee.
  • Make sure your shoes have enough support.
  • Try not to run on hard surfaces, like concrete.
  • Stay in shape and keep a healthy weight.
  • Warm up before you work out.
  • Donât make sudden workout changes like adding squats or lunges. Add intense moves slowly.
  • Ask your doctor if you should see a physical therapist.
  • If your doctor or physical therapist suggests it. Try a knee brace when you work out.
  • Wear quality running shoes.
  • Get a new pair of running shoes once yours lose their shape or the sole becomes worn or irregular.

Protect Your Knees By Not Over Striding As You Run

Both leaning forwards as you run, and increasing your running cadence will help to prevent you from over striding.

What is over striding?

Over striding is when your foot strikes the ground too far ahead of you as you run, effectively increasing the impact and braking forces your body experiences with each running stride.

Your knees will be one of the first places that experience this increased impact and breaking force as you over stride.

Ideally you should be aiming to land your foot beneath your centre of mass as you run, with your foot striking the ground beneath a flexing knee, rather than ahead of a more extended knee.

Dont worry too much about how your foot strikes the ground . When were looking to prevent Runners Knee, its more important to address where the foot strikes the ground in relation to the knee and the rest of your body.

Ive seen it myself many times in the runners that I coach learning not to over stride is a powerful way of protecting their knees, overcoming the early signs of knee pain, and keeping them running.

Its been well documented that the easiest way to achieve this is to increase your running cadence, as discussed in the section above!

In my experience, a lot of runners struggle to prevent themselves from over striding in two specific situations:

a) when they get fatigued on the back-end of a long run

b) when theyre trying to lengthen their stride to run faster

The solutions to these two issues?

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Take Care Of Runners Knee And Get Your Body Moving Again

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also referred to as runners knee or jumpers knee, generally describes pain in, around, and in front of the kneecap. While this pain can happen to anyone, it generally affects athletes who depend on their knees to run, jump, and play sports.

How do you treat an injury that is broadly defined by knee pain? First, you have to dig a little deeper to understand the key anatomical features of this joint. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute has the information you need about runners knee treatment in Montvale. With this insight, youll be able to contribute to your own healing process and keep your knees healthy in the future.

Surgery Option For Runners Knee

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In rare circumstances, the knee will continue to be painful and refractory to all of the nonoperative measures described above. When the pain of Runners Knee prevents the athlete from returning to play, surgery may be considered. The specific treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the pain.

Arthroscopic surgery can be pursued to manage softening or damage of the articular cartilage of the kneecap and thigh bone. If there is accompanying instability of the knee cap, soft tissue reconstructive procedures or re-alignment of the leg may be performed to improve the tracking of the patella. These may also be performed to relieve abnormally high pressures between the kneecap and femur.

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How Is Runners Knee Treated

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are

  • Your overall health and health history

  • How much pain you have

  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • How long the condition is expected to last

  • Your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for runner’s knee is to stop running until you can run again without pain. Other treatment may include:

  • Cold packs

Severe Runners Knee Cases

In some severe cases of runners knee, the above steps may not help as much.

So what to do then?

Well, severe cases of the runner may need immediate surgery to fix the damage.

A surgeon could take out the injured cartilage or mend the position of the patella.

Hopefully, you will never have to endure severe cases of runners knee.

This conditionand most other running injuriescan be easily treatedwhen spotted at the right time and before they get any worseand with the implementation of the right preventative strategies.

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Runners Knee: Anatomy And Causes

Structurally, your knee joint is composed of three bones: the lower end of the femur , the upper end of the tibia , and the patella . There are four ligaments that stabilize the joint and bones. Muscles in the knee are connected to the bones by tendons. And, articular cartilage in the joint both protects other components and enables smooth, easy movements to take place.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome impacts the nerves within the soft tissues and bones around the kneecap. Another knee condition that may occur simultaneously is chondromalacia patella, which refers to the breakdown of the articular cartilage beneath the kneecap. This doesnt directly cause pain, but the softening of this cartilage can cause inflammation that leads to discomfort.

What else causes runners knee? It is commonly defined as an overuse injury, forming after repeated instances of vigorous physical activity. While, true to its name, this injury affects runners, it can also impact anyone who repeatedly climbs stairs, squats, or suddenly increases their activity routine. Improper exercise techniques can also cause patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Another common reason this injury happens is the misalignment of the patella. When the kneecap becomes pushed to one side of the groove, the positions creates an increase of pressure between the back of the patella and trochlea. This irritates the surrounding soft tissues. An orthopaedic physician can determine if your kneecap is positioned properly.


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