What is Runner’s knee?
The term ‘runner’s knee’ refers to several problems that cause pain on the front of the knee. It commonly presents as constant ache underneath your kneecap when you run. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or anterior knee pain, or runner’s knee is the most common running injury. However, its not limited to runners. Runner’s knee generally affects those who put heavy stress on their knees, namely athletes such as skiers, cyclists, footballers and runners.
It’s the failure of tissues within the knee to fully recover from running-induced damage between runs. The pain is generally mild at first and experienced only during running but becomes progressively worse as the intensity of exercise increases.
- A dull, aching pain around or behind the kneecap
- Swelling of the knee
- Grinding and popping of the knee
- Particularly painful when active
Everything from uneven running surfaces and poor shoe selection to weak quads and hips, as well as unaddressed biomechanical flaws, can contribute to runner’s knee. In most cases, runner’s knee can be traced to the inability of the tissues surrounding the knee to recover in between runs.
It is probable that pronounced heel striking, or overstriding, also increases the risk for Runner’s knee. Studies have demonstrated that runners who experience excessive impact shock are more likely to develop PFPS, and that heel strikers experience greater impact shock than midfoot strikers. So if you are a pronounced heel striker and you have PFPS, train yourself to short our stride and land your foot flat underneath your hips instead of heel-first out in front of your body.Weakness in the hip abductors and hip external rotators is often seen in runner’s knee sufferers.
You may find that you need to dramatically reduce your training schedule when faced with runner’s knee, particularly if the injury is painful from the offset. If you can, try to reduce your regime to just pain-free running, which might be for 20 minutes, or every few days. You can then continue to increase your running gradually back toward pre-injury levels as comfort allows, reversing this process briefly whenever soreness emerges. Long term, switching up the surfaces you run on, strengthening the knee, and making sure you’re running in suitable footwear can all help to prevent a repeat injury.
During the recovery process, you’ll want to work on reducing the inflammation through cooling. Applying a Physicool B Bandage for thirty minutes to one hour 2-4 hours per day can be of great help. Working through the science of evaporation, the cooling benefit of Physicool will reduce pain and swelling, whilst the compression will limit inflammation. These two benefits working together will help to speed up your recovery and get you back to what you love faster. Post-run and evenings are best time to apply these bandages, due to the weight that your knee has endured throughout the day but a lunchtime treatment will definitely help.
Once you have recovered, you may find that switching to running shoes with more cushioning will help reduce your impact and protect the knees, preventing a repeat injury in the future.