Runner’s knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, affects a wide range of individuals, not only those who run for health or sport. Technically, an individual will experience a dull pain at the front of the patella or knew, where it reaches the femur or lower end of the thighbone.
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The symptoms of a runner’s knee can vary depending on the age and health of an individual. Common symptoms include
Pain while active
Pain while sitting for long periods of time, in which the knee is bent
Grinding of the bone in the knee
Rubbing of the bone against bone
Cracking sounds when you move the knee
An area that is tender to the touch around the knee
Many of the symptoms of a runner’s knee can mimic other types of ailments like arthritis. It is best to seek advice from your medical professional before going to an orthopedic surgeon.
If you are suffering continued pain in your knee, for two or more weeks, it is best to make an appointment with your general practitioner for a diagnosis. Besides a physical exam, you may need x-rays, an ultra-sound, or other types of diagnostic exams.
You may feel that you can fix the pain with over-the-counter medications and using heat and/or ice, but these are temporary fixes. Even if you are taking it easy and not running or moving that much, you will need to be seen by a medical professional to get to the bottom of your pain and decide on a course of action to fix the issue.
There are several different treatments for the runner’s knee. You and your physician will need to discuss the options and decide which one is best for your particular injury.
Factors your doctor needs to consider before deciding on a course of treatments include:
• Your level of pain
• Your current age
• Your health history
• Your current health
• The length of time the condition could last
• What you prefer in terms of treatment
Possible treatments include:
• Rest and elevation of the knee
• Cold packs
• Heat packs
• Physical therapy and at home stretching
• Strength training
• Knee wraps or compression wrapping
• Inserts for your shoes such as arch supports
There are several ways to prevent further injury to your knee, or if you are just starting out, to prevent runner’s knee in the first place:
Always be sure to stretch before running
Gradually build up your distance to be sure your knee is prepared for the type of workout you will be doing
Invest in well-made running shoes, those specifically made for runners and the knee issues they have
If at all possible, run with your knees bent more and lean forward a little
Lose weight if you are over-weight, which puts too much pressure on your knees
The best thing to do for your knee, and your overall physical health, is to take any amount of pain seriously, and from the beginning. Do not try to “work through the pain” with a no pain, no gain attitude. Exercise and running should not cause pain.