Runner’s Knee

The term ‘runner’s knee’ is used due to the fact that joggers and runners are commonly susceptible to knee pain due to the repeated impact caused by running on hard surfaces.

What causes runner’s knee?

The injury is caused by the kneecap becoming misaligned. Ordinarily the kneecap sits in a groove and moves up or down as the knee straightens or flexes, however if the kneecap is slightly out of place it can rub against the edges of the groove in which it sits. As the kneecap rubs in a misaligned position, the cartilage around and behind the kneecap can wear away. Occasionally there will be a build up of fluid which can cause the area around the injury to swell, causing discomfort.

Where are when might I feel the pain of runner’s knee?

The pain of runner’s knee can be felt either behind the kneecap itself or at the back of the knee, and may develop after undertaking physical activity. You may also experience a grinding sensation around the kneecap area.

How is runner’s knee treated?

In order to prevent runner’s knee, it is important to strengthen the muscle which helps to hold the kneecap in position. This muscle is called the quadriceps, which aligns the kneecap to the centre of the groove.

What exercises will help runner’s knee?

  • While sitting, extend the legs in front of you keeping your heels on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscles and hold for a count of ten, before relaxing for a count of three. Repeat 10 times, several times a day.
  • Lying flat on your back, bend one knee to a 90 degree angle, while keeping your foot flat on the floor. While keeping it straight, lift the right leg to the level of the left knee. Hold while you count to three, then lower and repeat 10 times before chancing sides.
  • While sitting or lying on the floor, keep one leg straight and raise the foot around six inches up off the floor, holding for five seconds. Then lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat ten times.

Is there anything else I can do to prevent runner’s knee?

The jarring motion of running on roads and tracks can aggravate runner’s knee, and therefore it is important to wear good quality running shoes with adequate support. Running on softer surfaces such as grass can ease the symptoms and further prevent runner’s knee.

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