Runners Knee is a common condition mainly affecting runners, but can also occur in many other sports.
Scientifically, this is known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. It is an overuse injury mainly brought on by repeated force though the knees, hence the high occurrence in runners due to the nature of the sport.
Symptoms of Runner’s Knee include pain at the front of the knee, around and behind the kneecap. This pain is worsened with increased activity or exercise and is aggravated by prolonged sitting and climbing up and down stairs.
There are multiple causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome. These can include overuse, muscle imbalances, muscle weakness or other injuries, all of which put more pressure through the knee, causing pain.
Treatment and rehabilitation for this injury is fairly straightforward. It would include: ice to bring down the swelling; rehabilitation exercises to strengthen certain weaknesses which would be identified and set by a Sports Therapist; taping of the knee to take the pressure off during a progressive return to your sport.
However, with overuse injuries such as Runner Knee prevention is the most important part to stop the injury from happening in the first place. There are multiple ways in which this can be done.
- Using the 10% rule when attempting to increase training load. This means only increasing the mileage, or time undertaking an activity, by 10% a week, while also ensuring down weeks are taken every 3-6 weeks depending on the level of activity.
- Stretching and foam rolling to prevent muscle imbalances and stiffness, which can lead to pain
- Prehabilitation – strength and conditioning exercises to gain strength to prevent injuries.
These prevention methods can be used to prevent all injuries form occurring, not just Runners Knee.
Rest is also a vital part of recovery and prevention of this injury. This was discussed in a previous blog post about rest and recovery.