Your Complete Guide to Overcoming Runner’s Knee Pain

by Crafted Physical Therapy

Running is one of the most common forms of exercise. It comes as no surprise, as running is great for overall fitness, helps prevent heart disease, helps fight obesity and diabetes, among other reasons. Completing a marathon, 5k or 10k also comes with a huge sense of pride. All runners are susceptible to injuries, but it is reported that as many as 90% of those training for marathons become injured.

PFPS (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

PFPS, or runner’s knee, is caused when the patella (knee cap) comes into contact with the femur (thigh bone). Pain can either be gradual or sudden, relatively mild or severe. PFPS is common in runners, but cyclists, basketball players and other athletes are also at risk for developing PFPS.

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What are the Symptoms of Runner’s Knee?

PFPS usually begins as a sharp pain on either side of the kneecap or on the front of the knee. A deep ache is also common. In more severe cases, grinding or popping noises or sensations can be felt or heard. PFPS pain can be difficult to pinpoint. Pain can develop after standing following prolonged periods of sitting, squatting, going up and down stairs and other normal daily activities. 

What Causes PFPS? 

PFPS is a complex condition and caused by many things, but the main cause is a poorly aligned and tracked kneecap. This can be caused by several factors, such as imbalance on the thigh muscles, poor foot biomechanics or weakness in the gluteal muscles in the hips. All of these combined or alone can cause abnormal movement of the knee. 

Common Treatments of Runner’s Knee 

Physical therapy is an optimal treatment for those suffering from runner’s knee. The factors that cause PFPS can be identified and corrected through various exercises, therapy and even orthotic devices. Hip and thigh muscles can be re-trained to place less stress on the knee. If poor foot biomechanics are a contributing factor, orthotic devices may be recommended. Rest or modified activities may ultimately be necessary to allow inflammation to subside. 

Crafted Physical Therapy is Here to Help 

After an initial evaluation and diagnosis of PFPS, a custom rehabilitation plan is crafted. This includes manual therapy as well as exercise to retrain muscles. For runners especially, it is vital to fully recover from any previous injury before running a marathon, 5k or any other race. Let Crafted Physical Therapy help get you on the road to recovery and enjoying the exercise you love. Contact us online today or call us at (720) 204-4567 to set up an appointment today.