Runner’s Knee: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

by Dr. Nathan Hinkeldey on November 29, 2012


Runner's KneeRunning has transcended sport and become a fitness movement. Everyday, more and more people lace up their running shoes and take to the roads, sidewalks, and tracks of urban, suburban, and rural America to become leaner, healthier human beings. And while any fitness movement is generally a good thing, this one can come with some undesirable side effects. Chief among those is runner’s knee.

In more technical terms, patellofemoral syndrome, is often the result of:

  • Running too far, too soon.
  • Inadequate stretching before and/or after a run.

In deference to the many excellent magazines, websites, and books already available to help you establish a healthy running routine, including warm-up, cool-down, and stretching regimens, I won’t try to recreate that information here. Instead, I’d like to help you gain a better understanding of how your knee works, why it might hurt after long runs, and what treatment is available to eliminate existing pain and avoid future injury.

The Knee Bone’s Connected to the Leg Bone

The patella, or knee cap, sits on the femur (thighbone) and when muscles are too tight it pushes the knee cap into the femur, causing irritation and pain. Tension or tightness in the quadriceps (thigh muscles) will amplify that compression and the corresponding irritation and pain. The condition most often presents as pain behind or around the kneecap that can be felt when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting. Some patients report popping or grinding sensations in the knee, and nearly everyone notices that the pain gets worse when walking downstairs or downhill.

Treating Runner’s Knee

Different healthcare providers recommend different courses of treatment to relieve the pain of runner’s knee. Traditional treatments include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Others may prescribe orthotics (braces, support devices) and/or anti-inflammatory medication.

At Team Chiropractic & Rehab, we prefer to start with some specific stretches, hip exercises, and working on your squat form to help resolve this condition and using orthotics and medication only when necessary. Our goal is always to identify the cause of pain and then resolve it as quickly as possible. While follow up care is often necessary, Dr. Nate strives to transition you to a home exercise program as quickly as possible. This results in less time and money spent on follow up care.

Don’t Let Knee Pain Get You Off Track

If knee pain is keeping you from running – or if any kind of pain is limiting you in any way – get in touch with us today. Fill out the form at right or call our office at 515-276-8326. Let us help you feel your best so you can Work Hard. Play Harder. Expect More.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nate Hinkeldey November 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

good post


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