A common injury in runners…hence the dedicated name to the injury. This blog post will focus on the causes, symptoms, treatment and preventative strategies that you runners can do to help build strong and healthy knees!
WHAT IS IT?
Also known as, patellofemoral pain, chondromalacia patellae and patella maltracking or malalignment, but referred to as runners knee as far as this blog post is concerned.
Runners knee is a chronic injury whereby the cartilage on the back of the patella (kneecap) grinds against the femoral condyles (see images below), thereby degenerating and causing pain.
This will often cause a diffuse achy pain over the top of the knee, perhaps hard to identify its exact location- and may feel like it’s inside. It is also possible to experience sudden sharp pains- usually indicating a catching of the cartilage.
This can be caused by a number of things, such as soft tissue imbalances or alterations in biomechanics.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
When the knee is correctly aligned, the patella fits nicely into its groove between the two femoral condyles, and when the knee flexes (bends), it slides up and down in this groove.
TIGHT ILIOTIBIAL BAND
A thick band of fascia originating from the muscles: Tensor fascia Late and Gluteals, and finishing at the outside of the knee, to which this fascia then blends with the outside of the patella. A tight ITB can cause the patella to pull to the outside and consequently sit out of its groove- causing cartilage grinding. The lateral quad can also contribute to this.
Glute min & med have the job of rotating the hip and are therefore directly responsible for the knee falling in. When the knee falls in, femoral internal rotation occurs, causing the patella again, to sit on the outside- causing pain!
OVER PRONATION & FLAT FEET
Also known as landing on the outside of the foot and then excessively rolling across to the inside of the foot. The quicker you run, the more exaggerated this altered biomechanics takes effect- so if you don’t get pain at slower speeds, this could be why. This in turn causes tibial rotation, and once again the knee falls in, causing a laterally sitting patella and pain! This may also be caused by your running shoes so check your soles. Flat feet is when you have a very little, if any arch under your foot- this increases the likelihood of tibial rotation so is definitely a factor.
More often than not, a combination of tight and weak glutes, tight ITB, tight quads and altered biomechanics at the feet.
Often a release of the Glutes, ITB, TFL, lateral quad is a good place to start. Combine this with some glute exercises that might assist in hip external rotation and an adapted running schedule.
Perhaps get yourself assessed biomechanically both in standing and running. But regular foam rolling of the muscles mentioned above and Glute activation should assist in reducing the risk of runners knee!
About us -|- Function Jigsaw Sports Injury Clinic in Leicester
Function Jigsaw sports injury clinic is based in Wigston, Leicester and we specialise in Sports injury rehabilitation. Our sports therapists have years of experience in sports physiotherapy and sports massage. For more information and booking, please contact us to make an appointment. You can also call us on 0116 340 0255 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org