Treatment for Runner’s Knee

runner's knee treatment

Treatment for Runner’s Knee in Visalia & Hanford – If runner’s knee is holding you back, physical therapy can put you back on track

Whether you’re entering the final stages of a long-term training program for an upcoming marathon or you’re a casual runner that logs a few miles every week, you’ve probably dealt with an injury of some sort in the past.

Runners can be affected by a wide array of potential injuries, but some consider patellofemoral pain syndrome—or runner’s knee—to be the most common. Accounting for about 20% of all running injuries, runner’s knee can actually result from any activity that requires repeated knee bending—such as walking, biking, or jumping—but as you might expect, it’s more prevalent in runners than any other population.

Runner’s knee is not a specific condition itself, but a loose term used to describe several similar disorders with different causes, and for this reason, it’s not always easy to peg down the exact reason why it develops. Misalignment of the kneecap (patella), weak thigh muscles, overuse, flat or over-arched feet, and direct trauma to the knee are all factors that can contribute, and if any one or a combination of these factors is strong enough, the result can be runner’s knee.

Stress from running causes irritation where the patella rests on the thighbone, and symptoms of runner’s knee include tenderness behind or around the patella, pain—especially when walking downhill—swelling and a popping or grinding sensation in the knee. For runners of any level, these symptoms can really interfere with training and prevent you from keeping up with your running schedule. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid runner’s knee by making these basic changes to your running routine:

  • Run on softer surfaces, keep your mileage increase to less than 10% per week and gradually increase your hill workout without overdoing it
  • Go to a specialty shoe store and have a gait analysis to ensure you’re using proper shoes for your foot type and gait
  • Be sure you’re using proper running form; click here for more information
  • If you do experience any pain, cut back your mileage significantly and avoid knee-bending activities and downward slopes until it subsides

If pain continues even if you’re following these tips and after cutting down your mileage, it’s best to see a physical therapist for further guidance. A physical therapist will help to identify any issues that may be causing your pain and provide you with an exercise program that focuses on improving the strength and flexibility of your thigh muscles. The program may also include manual therapy, in which the therapist carefully and systematically moves your joints and muscles to alleviate pain and improve your function. The benefits of this type of approach to runner’s knee are highlighted in a study published last year, which concludes with the following statement:

The data from this review cautiously suggest that manual therapy may be helpful in the short term for decreasing pain in patients with patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee). Several studies integrated manual therapy into a comprehensive treatment program.

So if you’re concerned with your risk for runner’s knee or are looking for treatment for runner’s knee in Visalia or Hanford, we strongly recommend seeing one of physical therapist as soon as you can to figure out what’s causing your pain and how to properly address it.