Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a painful knee condition that commonly affects runners. This pain is felt mostly at the kneecap and is often described as being either sudden and sharp or dull and chronic.
Athletes with this condition may have a difficult time participating in sports because of the increased intensity in pain during movement. There is also an overall sense of instability with a feeling of the knee popping or “giving way”.
There may not be a single cause for runner’s knee; a combination of factors such as weak quadriceps, improper form and foot posture problems can contribute to the gradual development of runner’s knee.
When does it happen
You may feel the symptoms of runner’s knee if you’ve rapidly increased the frequency or intensity of your training programme. An example of this could be doubling either your running speed or distance within a two-week period.
Muscle weakness, especially in your quadriceps, can act as a risk factor for running-related knee pain; the quadriceps are responsible for stabilising the kneecap and without strength, these muscles are unable to overpower the large external forces produced during running.
Similarly, an imbalance in the functioning of the hips such as reduced hip abductor strength has been frequently observed in athletes with runner’s knee. Your hip abductor muscles help in rotating the leg at the hip joint and are necessary for movements such as walking or running.
Unhealthy foot movement patterns such as the excessive inward rolling of the foot force the lower body to compensate for this abnormality; a weak foot posture such as a flatfoot condition causes the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards which gradually adds stress to the knee joint and may cause pain over a period of time.
How to treat it
Rehabilitation for runner’s knee should focus on restoring strength and function in the muscles by selecting exercises that help in pain reduction and improving joint range of motion.
Such exercises need to target the quadriceps, hips and core muscles that are necessary for maintaining better lower body control. Studies have shown that including both open and closed chain exercises can be beneficial in increasing muscle strength throughout a large range of motion.
Your therapist will design a rehabilitation programme only after analysing your condition and walking pattern. For example, knee extensions could be recommended if you experience pain while taking steps to walk.
A pre-existing foot posture problem needs to be identified in the treatment of runner’s knee; this should be considered as part of both preventive and rehabilitative measures.
Since the feet act as the foundation of the whole body, any irregularities in the way your feet move can eventually cause problems in your posture and lower body especially your ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
MASS4D® insoles provide your feet with the support needed for optimal functioning of the lower body and for reducing any unnecessary strain on your knee.
These insoles remain in constant contact with your feet so you’re able to perform a variety of activities such as running without worrying about damaging your posture.
The long-term benefit of wearing MASS4D® includes protection from developing foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis and bunions which could otherwise keep you away from your favourite sport for a long time.
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Reference: Petersen, W., Rembitzki, I., Liebau, C. (2017) Patellofemoral Pain in Athletes. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine: June 2017, Vol. 8, pp. 143-54. DOI: 10.2147/OAJSM.S133406
Reference: Halabchi, F., Abolhasani, M., Mirshahi, M., Alizadeh, Z. (2017) Patellofemoral Pain in Athletes: Clinical Perspectives. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine: October 2017, Vol. 8, pp. 189-203. DOI: 10.2147/OAJSM.S127359
Reference: Freutel, N. (2016) The Benefits and Effectiveness of Hip Abduction Exercises. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com
Reference: Esculier, J., Bouyer, L. J., Dubois, B., Frémont, P., Moore, L., Roy, J. (2016) Effects of Rehabilitation Approaches for Runners with Patellofemoral Pain: Protocol of A Randomised Clinical Trial Addressing Specific Underlying Mechanisms. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders: January 2016, Vol. 17, No. 5. DOI: 10.1186/s12891-015-0859-9
Reference: Halabchi, F., Mazaheri, R., Seif-Barghi, T. (2013) Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and Modifiable Intrinsic Risk Factors; How to Assess and Address? Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: June 2013, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 85-100
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