OCT 17, 2019 6:36 PM PDT

Runner's Knee, a Rundown

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Perhaps you have taken up a running or another cardiovascular activity to protect your health as you age. This is, of course, a wise and proactive thing to do. But activity can, particularly for beginners, come with some unintended complications. One of these difficulties may be pain in or around the knee from any of several causes. The umbrella term for this generalized knee pain is Runner's Knee.

Often associated with cardiovascular fitness, like the repetitive forces of running, knee pain is not uncommon. Some of the conditions that fall into the "Runners Knee "category include anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, iliotibial band syndrome or Chondromalacia Patella where the cartilage behind the kneecap starts to break down.  

The most common complaint with each of these conditions is a dull, aching pain behind or around the kneecap. Persons with runners knee typically feel pain the most when walking, running, climbing stairs, kneeling, or squatting. In addition to pain, a patient may complain of popping or grinding sensations in the knee. Many also experience swelling in the joint as a result of irritation.

Although the name suggests that running is most often what results in the condition, any repetitive stress to the knee can be the cause. These activities can include walking, surfing, cycling, and many more.

These activities cause runners knee because the repetitive stress associated with them tend to irritate the soft tissues of the joint. Occasionally, Runner's Knee is caused by something other than overuse. Other causes include direct trauma to or fracture of the kneecap, misalignment of the kneecap, flat arches in the feet, inadequate flexibility, or arthritis. In many cases, the cause is misalignment due to a sport-specific muscular imbalance. 

To diagnose Runner's Knee, your doctor will ask you questions about your daily activities and exercise routine. They will also ask if you have previously incurred an injury to the kneecap in question. Doctors may also use imaging technology to see into the joint itself.

Treatment for Runner's Knee follows typical RICE protocols. These include: rest to limit stress to the joint, the application of ice to reduce swelling, compression to restrict swelling, and elevation. If the pain is severe, enough patients may be advised to take NSAIDs sparingly. 

Once pain in the joint has subsided, sports medicine providers often recommend a balanced strengthening of the muscles that support the joint. This can help to realign the kneecap and prevent future irritation due to improper patellar tracking. Such strengthening may also be used as a preventive measure for those engaged in regular cardiovascular activities that may naturally result in balances.

 

 

Sources: UC San Diego Medical CenterJohn's Hopkins

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2020
Cardiology
Diagnosing Arterial Stenosis with Computational Modeling
JUL 18, 2020
Diagnosing Arterial Stenosis with Computational Modeling
Our understanding of cardiovascular health has increased by leaps and bounds. One of the few issues that lag behind the ...
AUG 22, 2020
Cardiology
Can Playing Your Favorite Music Improve Your Physical Performance?
AUG 22, 2020
Can Playing Your Favorite Music Improve Your Physical Performance?
If you go to the gym, you will usually see people with headphones jamming out to their favorite music while exercising. ...
AUG 29, 2020
Cardiology
Protecting the Heart Against Damage from Mechanical Stress
AUG 29, 2020
Protecting the Heart Against Damage from Mechanical Stress
Heart failure is a traumatic event that can have long-lasting consequences. Often, after an adverse cardiac event, the h ...
SEP 01, 2020
Cardiology
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
SEP 01, 2020
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
Have you ever experienced the head rush you get from standing up to fast? Well, oddly enough, something similar happens ...
OCT 15, 2020
Cardiology
Measuring Pulse Transit Time as a Replacement for the Inflatable Cuff
OCT 15, 2020
Measuring Pulse Transit Time as a Replacement for the Inflatable Cuff
Many people deal with one disease or another every day of their life. Most require checking on things like blood sugar f ...
OCT 15, 2020
Immunology
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
OCT 15, 2020
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
In general, men have higher blood pressures than women, giving them an increased risk of developing heart disease. After ...
Loading Comments...