What is runner’s knee?
Knee pain running is a common problem which is often called runner’s knee. It refers to a number of conditions which result in pain around the front of your knee (patellofemoral pain). This is when your kneecap briefly contacts your thigh bone. Ouch!
Overuse of your knee whilst you’re running irritates the nerves in and around your knee. The activity also overstretches the tendons which ends up, resulting in running knee pain.
It can also relate to a number of other running related injuries though.
There are non-surgical ways to treat runner’s knee pain.
What Causes Knee Pain When Running?
Knee running pain can be caused by a number of health related issues. For instance, how you stand makes a difference. If you have a collapsed arch, it may mean that your posture is off centre. This leads to more pressure on some joints than our body is naturally meant to take. And so our knee is often a point that is negatively affected through pounding the roads or treadmills.
This alignment issues can also relate to unbalanced muscles. These can either be tight or weak in relation to the other muscles in the legs. This imbalance can push you off centre and increase the risk of subluxated, complete or partial kneecap dislocation. I don’t think anyone reading this will underestimate how much this can cause pain on joints, particularly in a long distance event such as a marathon.
The same effect happens if your bones aren’t aligned properly or they’re different lengths.
The British Journal of Sport’s Medicine notes that runners’ knee is two times more likely in women than men. This is because there is a bigger angle between a female’s thigh bone and her knee. This throws the alignment off and puts more stress on her knee, causing knee pain.
Link between running and how you run
This is because there is a link between the distance run, the frequency and the power to knee pain. Therefore if you are looking to prevent knee pain running, then you need to balance your exercise schedule. Mix up the type of running, jogging, sprints etc with a variation in miles and distance you run along with other fitness work.
This is something that new runners often experience as they shock their system, but it is also equally important for experienced runners. If you run a lot, then you’re at risk from putting excessive stress on your knees. This can wear down the kneecap cartilage, which causes runner’s knee conditions such as chondromalacia or arthritis.
Don’t ignore the symptoms
*pain during or after running
Don’t run through knee pain. This is your body warning you that something is wrong and ignoring it could cause further damage.
Runner’s Knee Symptoms
The symptoms of runner’s knee vary by person; how your body is aligned, the type of training you are doing and also the specific injury you have picked up.
For example, you may suffer from any one of the following and it still be classed as runner’s knee:
*patellar knee tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons around the knee
*patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or chondromalacia. – cartilage eroding below the kneecap. This also results in pain behind your knee cap.
*increased pain running, particularly downhill, when you climb stairs or when you’re squatting or sitting for a longer period.
*irritation of the IT Band (iliotibial) outer knee pain whilst you’re running (lateral knee pain). This is more common in long-distance runners.
*meniscus tear – sharp pain in your knee when you run.
*back of knee pain (posterior pain) through soft tissue damage. Usually this will occur when you step in a pothole or twisting your knee some other way during your run.
Prevent Knee Pain Running
It’s important to warm up before you exercise, particularly if you want to avoid runner’s knee. Use stretching before and after and ensure you use the correct posture to make sure you put the right amount of load on each of your joints. This enables your muscles to work optimally – for speed and health.
When you start, don’t go at it all gun’s blazing. Build your distance and your speed up gradually so your body has time to adapt to the new load it is under. Don’t start out in some old trainers, make sure you get the proper gear. If the soles of your shoes are weak, then this will contribute to the alignment issues we discussed earlier. Proper support is imperative to prevent knee pain running.
Massage is also important to preventing knee pain running. Especially before a big event such as marathon or competition like a triathlon. Leave a good few days between your deep tissue massage and your event so that your muscles have time to heal back to their optimal level, or have a lighter massage such as Swedish massage closer to the event.
Do your event.
And then after, it’s important to have another massage to ease any strain and soreness out of your legs, lower back, knees and ankles. Depending on the competition, you may also find tightness in your shoulders too so give good consideration to making sure you have enough time booked in with your massage therapist.
Massage works your muscles deep to ensure that there is no residual injury or tightness and thus will help prevent knee pain running. This is both during your event when you have a massage before and after in subsequent after event exercise when you have one after the event.
The moral of the story on how to prevent runner’s knee?
Do everything in moderation and get a regular good quality massage to avoid any of the stuff we’ve talked about here today! If you’d like to visit us in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex, you can book online.