Runner’s Knee is also known as Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome(PFPS). It is commoner in females because of the broader pelvis. Runner’s knee causes pain under or around the front of the kneecap. Pain occurs when running, kneeling, squatting, and climbing or descending stairs. The clicking sound of the kneecap is heard with knee movement.
Risk factors for Runner’s Knee-
- Flat feet
- Mal-alignment of knee cap/patella, which leads to poor tracking of the patella.
- Weakness or tightness of quads and hams.
- Tight calf muscles.
- Muscular imbalance between hams and quads.
- Knee cap injury.
- Excessive training/ overuse.
- Chondromalacia patella, a condition in which cartilage under your knee cap softens and breaks down.
Exercises for Runner’s Knee
- Quadriceps Stretch-Hold onto the back of a chair or a wall for balance. Bend your knee and bring your heel up toward your buttock. Grasp your ankle with your hand and gently pull your heel closer to your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat three times on each side.
- Calf stretching– Stand facing a wall with your hands placed at the wall at eye level. Keep the heel of the leg to be stretched flat on the ground. Bend your front knee and gently lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf muscle. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat five times.
- Clam Exercises-Lie on your side with both knees bent. Tighten your abdominals, and slowly lift your top knee while keeping your feet together. Hold your knee up for 5 seconds, and then slowly lower. Repeat the exercise ten times.
- Wall Squats– Stand with your back against the wall and feet shoulder-width apart and about 2 feet from the wall. Bend your knees, and slowly lower yourself into a sitting position until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Slide slowly back up the wall to a standing position and repeat five times.
- IT Band stretch-To stretch your right IT Band, cross your right leg behind your left leg. Keeping both feet on the ground, lean to your left side Lean to the uninvolved side until you feel a stretch across the affected iliotibial band. Reach the left arm over your head while you do this.
- Hamstring Stretch-Lie on the floor with both legs bent. Lift one leg off of the floor, and bring the knee toward your chest. Clasp your hands behind your thigh and straighten your leg with your foot pointing towards the ceiling until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat three times on each side.
- Straight Leg Raise– Lie on your back, keeping one leg bent and the other straight out on the floor. Tighten your quads muscle of your straight leg, and then lift your leg about 15 inches off the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat ten times.
- Side-lying leg lift-Lying on your unaffected side. Keeping the top leg straight, lift it 8 to 10 inches away from the other leg. Hold for 5 seconds and lower gently. Repeat ten times.
- Step ups-Use a stool or platform at least 6″ in height. Step up with your right foot followed by left foot but let the left foot hanging. Keep the bodyweight on the right foot, and hold for 5 seconds. Then, bring your left foot down, followed by the right foot. Repeat ten times and switch to another leg.
Tips for prevention of Runners’ Knee-
- Use good running shoes.
- Incorporate warm up and cool down in your running routine.
- Use correct technique of running.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce undue stress on the knee joint.
- Do not run on hard surfaces like concrete.
Besides exercises, using cold packs, compression, and taping help with the runner’s knee. NSAIDs lessen pain and reduce inflammation. Shoe inserts can help align and stabilize your foot and ankle, taking stress off of your lower leg.
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