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What Causes Runner’s Knee

What Causes Pfp Syndrome

What Are The Causes Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or Runners Knee?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse disorder. These happen when someone does the same movements that stress the knee over and over again.

In PFP syndrome, repeated bending and straightening the knee stresses the kneecap. It’s most common in athletes.

Some people with PFP syndrome have a kneecap that is out of line with the thighbone . The kneecap can get out of line, or wiggle as it moves along the thighbone, because of muscle weakness, trauma, or another problem. If this happens, the kneecap doesn’t glide smoothly over the thighbone when the knee bends and straightens. The kneecap gets injured and this causes the pain of PFP syndrome.

Runners Knee: Symptoms Causes Treatment And Prevention

Painful kneecap after a run? Its likely caused by the runners knee. Runners knee refers to several conditions, all of which cause dull pain around the patella or kneecap. Its common among long-distance runners because running puts repeated stress on the knee joint.

Read on to learn more about this condition, what causes it, how to treat it, and what you can do to prevent it.

What Are The Symptoms

The main thing is pain. You might notice it:

  • Usually in front of your kneecap, though it could be around or behind it
  • When you bend your knee to walk, squat, kneel, run, or even get up from a chair
  • Getting worse when you walk downstairs or downhill

The area around your knee could swell, or you might hear popping or have a grinding feeling in the knee.

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How To Protect Your Knees While Running

Wearing proper shoes, stretching, cross training, eating healthy and taking supplements are the best way to protect your knees while running. Its important to avoid overusing the knee as well.

Wearing the right shoes is the most important step people can take to avoid runners knee. Its important that they first find shoes that fit their feet correctly. Many running shoes dont have proper support to prevent runners knee. Always be sure to remove the inserts or insoles that came with the shoes and purchase new ones that offer better support.

Another important step people can take to protect their knees while running is to stretch before they begin running or jogging. Stretching not only prevents runners knee, but it also prevents other injuries.

Many people who run for exercise only focus on running. Its important to cross train. Consistently repeating the same exercise throws the body out of balance. Be sure to add core-strengthening exercises to your routine.

People who run need a variety of supplements and healthy foods to protect their knees while running or jogging. People who run need to maintain healthy joints to prevent injuries. Adults should be getting 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. People who prefer to eat their calcium have the option of choosing dark green vegetables and dairy products. People who run should be taking 1,500 milligrams per day of glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams a day of chondroitin sulfate.

What Should I Do About Heel Pain

Runnerâs Knee Causes And Treatment â [ð?£]ð?¥ð?²ð?µð?®ð?¯

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.

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What Causes Runner’s Knee

The cause of Runners Knee is usually excessive strain. The constant bending and stretching of the knee joint during running causes pressure and rubbing on the underside of the knee cap while it glides over the thigh bone. Prolonged strain can irritate cartilage within the knee which, if not treated, results in Runners Knee.

Whether or not you develop Runners Knee depends on different factors, including the intensity of your training, the terrain of your running or walking routes, and your individual anatomy. If you want to find the cause of your Runners Knee, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you trained too hard?
  • Are your running shoes old or is that particular model unsuitable for your feet?
  • Have you been running on a lot of hilly trails, downhill in particular?
  • Are your muscles too weak?
  • Have you stretched adequately?

Those who have just started running often approach it with too much gumption. That is, they often increase the intensity of their training too quickly and do not spend enough time recovering. Of course, experienced runners are not exempt either. Ambitious runners sometimes forget to listen to their bodies if they are too focused on time records or the upcoming marathon season. This can cause them to push themselves too hard.

What Does Runners Knee Pain Feel Like

Runners knee manifests as a dull pain at the front of the knee. It can be caused by a structural defect or the way that you walk or run.

Symptoms, other than pain, include rubbing, grinding, or clicking sounds in the kneecap. The best treatment is to avoid running or physical activity until the injury is healed.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Runners Knee

The major symptoms of runners knee are pain and tenderness in the area around the kneecap. Activities like walking, running and especially squatting, kneeling or jumping will cause increased pain and discomfort.

Other signs and symptoms include rubbing or grinding of the kneecap when the knee is flexed and straightened. Sometimes it is also possible to hear a as the knee is moved.

Who Gets Pfp Syndrome

Why do I get knee pain when running? | Understanding runner’s knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome usually happens in people who do sports that involve a lot of knee bending and straightening, such as running, biking, and skiing. It also can happen to people, particularly young women, who do not do a lot of sports.

PFP syndrome is more common in women and happens most often to teens and young adults.

Tight or weak leg muscles or flat feet can make someone more likely to get PFP syndrome.

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Some Basics About Both Injuries To Keep In Mind

Beware of chronicity! Although humans are born to run,6 and most cases are easy to recover from,7 these injuries do have a nasty way of dragging on and on in some unlucky runners please be aware of that risk.8 These conditions definitely do not have any guaranteed cures.

There are also many myths about both conditions that need busting, like the one about IT band stretching, the dubious importance of kneecap tracking, or the exaggerated dangers of running on pavement .

What Is Runners Knee Signs Symptoms And Rehab Guide

An evidence-based guide for Runners Knee symptoms, causes and treatment options

Runners Knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common overuse injury causing pain at the front of the knee, around or behind the kneecap.

It is most common in runners but can also affect other active people who participate in sports such as cycling and hiking. Most people recover completely from Runners Knee after a few months of rehab, although it is an injury that can become chronic if not treated correctly.

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Its Caused By Bad Knee Alignment

One of the most common myths about Runners Knee is that it happens because of kneecap maltracking. This idea that the kneecap moves out of alignment and rubs against the tibia bone of the shin.

For a long time, doctors and physiotherapists believed this bone-on-bone rubbing caused the pain and wore down cartilage. However, we now have a lot of evidence to show this isnt the case, bad knee alignment does not cause Runners Knee.

People have kneecaps of many different shapes and sizes, and it is common for kneecaps to move at slightly different angles as the knee bends. We now see that these anatomical variations are not a fault in some people but rather, normal human structure.

Research studies have proven that people who have less than ideal alignment are no more likely to develop the injury than people who have textbook perfect knees.

How Long Does Runners Knee Last

5 Causes of Runner

The vast majority of cases of runners knee get better within a few weeks or months. But in some instances, it can take up to four years for your knees to heal after an injury like this. If your knee pain keeps coming back after you have stopped running, see a sports injury specialist to find out what the problem is.

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Causes Of Runners Knee

Runners knee is an overuse injury that is caused primarily by repetitive and excessive strain on the knee joint.

Unlike many other sporting injuries there is no actual tissue damage associated with runners knee pain. There is no broken bones, no torn tendons, and no cartilage damage either. The pain comes from inflamed tissues that surround the kneecap, generally fat, bursa and synovial membrane.

The tissues work to lubricate the knee joint and provide some additional cushioning between the bones. When there is a high level of stress on the knee the tissues can become irritated and inflamed.

The inflammation can be seen as a warning sign of the potential for more serious tissue damage if this stress continues.

Every tissue in the body has a certain level of stress that it can take before damage occurs. The tolerance develops over many years and is determined by your lifestyle, or what you body does on a regular basis.

For example, professional athletes have a much higher tolerance for the repetitive physical stress as opposed to sedentary office workers because of the condition of their body and intense amounts of exercise.

Overuse injuries, such as runners knee, occur when repetitively high levels of stress are placed upon the joint that go beyond what the tissues have adapted to handle.

For the majority of sufferers runners knee is a sign to slow down and do better training to prepare yourself for higher stress activities.

Support To Get Back On Track

Rest, cooling, anti-inflammatory medication and exercises to combat runners knee these are highly beneficial for your body. In order to additionally boost the healing process, wearing a knee support also helps. It supports and relieves your knee and can alleviate pain this is particularly important at the beginning when the problems are most severe and you want to stay active during your day.

If you then return to your training, the support not only continues to provide you with additional stability, but you also prevent recurring excessive strain and injuries. This sets you up perfectly to ensure your knee recovers.

Runners knee: how a support can help

Runners knee is a clear sign of excessive strain. A support provides your knee with additional stability so you can slowly get back to action.

Sports Knee Support

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What Are Other Knee Injuries Runners Have

Athletes can also have injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament , posterior cruciate ligament , collateral ligament, meniscus, cartilage and tendons. While these aren’t as common in runners, they’re still serious and require medical attention.

Knee injuries range from minor to serious, so it’s important to take a break from running and see your healthcare provider if pain persists.

A Physical Therapist May Want To Change The Way You Walk

What Causes Runners Knee [And Why Your Hamstrings Are Always Tight]?

Gait retrainingwhere a physical therapist recommends specific ways to change the way you walk or runalso appears to help ease runner’s knee pain, especially in combination with a strengthening program.

In general, taking shorter, faster steps takes pressure off your knees, Dr. Vincent says. If you run, he recommends counting the number of steps you take per minute. Get a number below 160? Speeding it up by 5 to 10% can reduce the load on your joints and alleviate knee pain.

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Treatment For Runners Knee

For many people runners knee will get better on its own with time and simple treatments that address the problem causing pain to the joint.

Some effective ways to help runners knee heal faster and speed up your recovery include:

  • Rest your knee Try your best to rest the knee as much as possible and avoid things that make the pain worse. This could be squatting, lunging, sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Ice your knee To ease the pain and swelling you should ice the knee for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for a few days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Wrap your knee Using an elastic bandage, patellar straps, or compression sleeves will give your joint extra support.
  • Elevate your leg This can be done on a pillow when you sit or lie down.
  • OTC medications Ibuprofen or naproxen can help with pain or swelling, but they do have side effects such as a higher risk or bleeding or ulcers. These should be used as directed, unless you have different instructions from your doctor.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises These are especially important for the quadriceps muscles. You may ask a physiotherapist about some specific exercises that may promote healing of runners knee.
  • Arch supports or orthotics for your shoes These can help with the position of your feet. They can be bought from your local drugstore or you can also have them custom made.

It is rare that anyone with runners knee will need surgery, this is only for severe cases of runners knee.

The Good News About Runners Knee

OK, now for the good news you dont have to live with it! With the right treatment, its possible to put an end to the pain, swelling and stiffness from runners knee. But in order to get rid of this condition for good, youll need to be smart about what treatment options you choose and how you use them. And thats exactly what Im going to show you here.

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What Causes Runners Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is commonly caused by torn or worn cartilage in the knee.

You might also start to experience the pain if the soft tissues of your knee are irritated or the tendons become strained.

Sometimes, the problem may be triggered by a structural defect in the way you run or walk. Some other common risk factors for runners knee include:

  • Kneecap injury or trauma: Falls, direct blows to the kneecap, or accidents with impact on your knee can create inflammation or pain in that area.
  • Kneecap misalignment: The femur forms a groove that supports the kneecap. The kneecap is essentially a floating bone that allows you to bend and straighten your knee. You wont feel any pain if this floating bone glides in the right direction. But if it moves in the wrong direction, it will cause friction that can bring about pain and inflammation.Common reasons for kneecap misalignment include flat feet, overpronation, and hyper mobile feet.
  • Overuse or excessive training: When you train excessively, the soft tissues in your knee joint may break down.If you continue to train without giving yourself some time off to rest and recover, the tissues might become damaged and cause severe pain.
  • Tight hamstrings: This is a condition that limits movement and causes stiffness. It is also a result of strenuous activities.
  • Tight or weak thigh muscles: When you stretch or bend your knee joint, the quadriceps keeps your kneecap in place.

How Do You Fix Runners Knee


Even if its hard: in cases of knee pain, rest is the first course of action. As an immediate measure and to combat acute pain, cooling with a cold pack or ice is helpful. Wrap the cold pack or ice in a towel to prevent skin and tissue damage caused by the cold. A little hint: frozen peas in a bag are great for cooling the knee! Do not cool your knee for too long at a time 20 minutes is the maximum before you need to take a break. Repeat the process several times per day to reduce inflammation and pain.

To be safe, a physician should have a look at your knee to accurately diagnose runners knee. If needed, your physician can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, for example as a cream, to support the healing process.

Gentle exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles also help with runners knee. They can make sure that your knee recovers. But be careful not to overdo it! Its best if you speak to your physician about which exercises are suitable for you and if needed, get a referral for physical therapy.

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Causes And Risk Factors For Runners Knee

Runners knee can be caused by several factors, including one or a combination of the following:

  • Training errors. A sudden increase in the volume or intensity of training may place excessive stress on the patellofemoral joint. Likewise, inadequate recovery time or excessive hill work may do the same.
  • Overuse and overtraining of the knee. Prolonged periods of heavy use and training can cause runners knee in even the most conditioned athletes, if adequate time for recovery is not provided. For example, a distance runner completing a particularly rigorous week of training may develop runners knee pain.
  • Injury. An injury to the ankle, hip, or knee can change the knees biomechanics, eventually leading to runners knee symptoms.
  • Focal weakness. Weak or underdeveloped thigh or hip muscles can cause the patellofemoral joint to bear a larger stress burden with activity. Over time this can lead to the development of runners knee.
  • Excessive body weight. Being overweight can cause unwanted stress on the knees. When walking across level ground, each step places 1.5 times an individuals body weight worth of pressure on their knees.2
  • Flexibility. Particularly tight quadriceps , gastrocnemius , iliotibial band , or hamstrings may predispose someone to runners knee.
  • Gender. Women have an increased risk of runners knee, as women have wider hips and different knee alignment than men.


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