joint careForty-two percent of all overuse injuries affect the knee joint, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), simply known as “runner’s knee,” is the most common overuse injury among runners. It occurs when a mistracking kneecap (patella) irritates the femoral groove in which it rests on the thighbone (femur).

Causes of Runner’s Knee

In many cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. Sometimes the problem is biomechnical For example the patella may be larger on the outside than it is on the inside, it may sit too high in the femoral groove, or it may dislocate easily. In addition, worn cartilage in the knee joint reduces shock absorption, high-arched feet provide less cushioning, and flat feet or knees that turn in or out excessively can pull the patella sideways.

It can also be a muscular issue. If the hamstring and calf muscles are tight, it can put pressure on the knee. Weak quadriceps or hip muscles can cause the patella to track out of alignment. Lastly, the repetitive force of a normal running stride alone can be enough to cause injury.

Symptoms of Runner’s Knee can include:

  • Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet

  • Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even rising from a chair

  • Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill

  • Swelling

  • Popping or grinding sensations in the knee

Tips to Prevent Runner’s Knee:

  • Improve and maintain good flexibility

  • Include strength training in your running program

  • Always stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet

  • Warm up and cool down before running

  • Wear the correct type of running shoes based on your foot type and running style

  • Have your running form evaluated by a running expert

HROSM doctorIt is not uncommon for Patellofemoral pain to linger for weeks or even months, so do be cautious with this injury.  In general, it is not a good idea to run through pain. If you are having knee pain schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialists at Hampton Roads Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine. We can help you recover from your injury and get you back to running pain-free!