Running Injuries – Have You Got Runner’s Knee?

Recently, we talked about Jumper’s Knee, because knee pain is both a serious and a commonly occurring issue that can have a massive impact on a person’s life. Today, we’re going to talk about a cause of knee pain that affects 25% of people at some point in their lives and is even more common among runners, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) and what are the symptoms?

PFPS describes the pain present behind the kneecap (patella) because of the irritation of or damage around the articular cartilage where the patella meets the femur (thigh bone). This aching pain can radiate around the knee and can be accompanied by inflammation. The onset is often gradual and tend to come on during high-pressure activities where the knee is bent, such as running, squatting, stair-climbing and others. The pain can then persist while walking and as it worsens, can be felt when resting.

What causes PFPS?

PFPS is thought to be an overuse injury caused by irregular tracking and rubbing of the patella over the femur, as the knee works to bend and straighten. Instead of gliding smoothly through a groove at the femur, the patella can mistrack and instead rub against the femur. This results in irritation of the joint components and surrounding tissues, as well as damage to the underlying cartilage and bone.

PFPS affects many runners and those that are active because of the repetitive movement at the knee joint. It is also linked to:

  • Muscular imbalances within the quadriceps
  • Sudden increases in training intensity
  • Overloading the knee during squatting/jumping
  • Poor foot biomechanics
  • Increasing age
  • Female gender (because of the typical differences in leg alignment, greater tendency for joint laxity, generally weaker hip muscles and hormonal fluctuations)
  • Aside from running, PFPS typically is particularly prevalent in basketball, football, volleyball, netball, skiing and other running/jumping sports.

How is PFPS managed?

Our first step here at The Podiatrist is a comprehensive biomechanical assessment of your knees, feet, legs and hips. We carefully examine their function, alignment, range of motion, muscle strength and more. We use our world-class analysis equipment to complete your assessment and determine the likely cause of your PFPS, which can vary from person to person. Your management plan is then tailored to address your cause and your life.

Treatment will begin by addressing your painful symptoms but primarily focuses on treating and correcting the cause, to stop this problem from continuing to affect you in the future. We aim to have you back to doing the activities you love as quickly and efficiently as possible, and are there with you every step of the way! Our team have years of experience working with everyone from professional athletes, to kids, to those that haven’t been able to run in years.

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your knees, or would like to biomechanically assess your lower limbs to reduce your risk of developing pain as you begin training, come in and see our expert team. We’d love to help. Give us a call on 07 4638 3022

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