When your knee stops you running...
April 26, 2016 at 11:46 AM
You have booked your running event, paid your money and have your training regime planned out. You’re out running, feeling proud that you are actually doing it when you start to feel a slight twinge in the front of your knee. You think nothing of it and try to run it off.
The next day while heading to your 9 to 5, you glide down some stairs and feel it again, the same pain, at the front of your knee, below or around the kneecap and you start to worry. You rest for a few days.
Later that week, you begin another brisk jog, easing into it but that pain still persists, then it gets worse, that goal of finishing the event is feeling more like a dream.
You likely have ‘Runners knee’
What is ‘Runners Knee’?
Runners knee is also known as ‘patellofemoral pain syndrome’, which is the generalised term to encompass the overuse injuries that cause pain to the structures to the anterior part of then knee, around and below the kneecap. The pain usually starts as a niggle, then progresses over time to pain that can be debilitating and can cause a complete stop to training.
But WHY, WHY ME?!
The jury is still out on why this happens to one athlete going out for a leisurely jog, and not another. But researchers have shown common biomechanical flaws, weak muscles and training errors that predispose a certain individual.
What are these flaws and how do I avoid them?
Overtraining or ‘too much too soon’ can be one of the biggest causes of runners
knee. If you a new to running, start with small jogs up to 20 minutes and build up 10% weekly from there. The structures in your knees adapt slowly to load, so be gentle with your build up. Biomechanics or running technique also needs to be addressed if you have runners knee. Overstriding, and landing with your heel has been shown to increase the force produced up your leg and therefore into your knee. A general rule of thumb is if you can hear your feet slapping the ground and have knee pain, you potentially are running incorrectly.
Basic strengthening of muscles in your hips and core can also help you avoid knee pain or reduce it. The gluteal muscles are important in controlling the stability of the knee along with being the main propulsion muscle in running. If you are not running with your glutes, you can be overloading other structures which can develop runners knee. Be like Beyoncé and gain a booty!
But the pain is not going away? What do I Do?
Rest! The first thing you need to do is rest to let the structures in your knee that you have overloaded heal. Ice your knee when it’s painful and cross train to help maintain your fitness, for instance swimming. From here you need to identify the cause of the problem whether it is your technique, training or weak muscles.
If you have tried the steps above to avoid and help reduce your knee pain, Auckland Physiotherapy is here to help! Our practitioners are experienced in overuse sports injuries and can help identify common flaws and exercises you need to do to get back on track.
Contact one of our expert team at 09 3664480
Keep a look at our next blog for a more indepth look into correct running technique and common pitfalls