By: Dr. Carolyn McNeill
The next injury we will look at for this blog is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), which is also called Runner’s knee. This is one of the most common causes of knee pain. It is essentially pain from the tissues within and surrounding the knee joint. This blog is an expansion on my last blog as iliotibial band syndrome often creates Runner’s Knee.
Runner’s knee is caused by repetitive motion and abnormal tracking of the knee cap creating increased force on the underside of the knee cap. Risk factors for this condition include soft tissue tightness, glute weakness which tensions the ITB, (creating the abnormal knee cap tracking, as discussed in my last blog), muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings, muscle weakness (mainly the quads and glutes), reduced flexibility, overtraining (too much, too soon, too little rest) and previous history of knee pain.
Patients will describe this pain as a vague aching under the knee cap or around the knee. Clicking or grinding can also be reported. Pain usually occurs after periods of activity that load the knee joint (running, jumping, squatting, kneeling, going downstairs) and will subside when the activity is stopped. Pain is usually relieved by rest. People with runner’s knee may also have difficulty sitting for long periods of time with their knees bent.
Treatment consists of ice and relief from activities in the acute phase. Soft tissue therapy, acupuncture and rehab is also beneficial. Runners should decrease their mileage to a level that does not provoke the pain and can return to normal as soon as symptoms allow.
Below are a few links to some exercises and stretches that will help if you are experiencing these symptoms. Like our last blog post about ITB syndrome, if you’ve tried resting and the exercises and are still experiencing some pain, book an appointment and one of our therapists will be able to do a physical examination and recommend treatment to help get you back on track.
Gluteus med with ball
Side body stretch
Hip flexor stretch