If you feel excruciating pain around your knee area while walking, running or climbing staircase, you might be suffering from runner’s knee. Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), runner’s knee refers to the pain felt in front of the knee or around the kneecap (patella) but unlike its name is not necessarily associated with injury caused by running.
Dr. Suhail Shaikh – Consultant in Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine, Lokmanya Hospital Pune talks about the causes, symptoms and treatment of the condition.
Causes of runner’s knee
Runner’s knee could affect you due to a variety of reasons like indulging in strenuous activities such as running, biking, jumping, cycling, playing football, and walking, basically all the things that cause repeated pressure on the knee joints.
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Apart from these physical activities, there might be other causes of runner’s knee like malalignment of the kneecap, injury or trauma to the patella, weakness of muscles present around the knee or having a flat foot. It may also be caused if there is poor foot support or the hamstrings are tight and also if you go overboard while training.
Still not sure if your knee pain is due to runner’s knee. Then, look out for the below-mentioned symptoms.
Symptoms of runner’s knee
* Pain in and around the kneecap
* Pain when you bend your knee to walk or squat
* Pain while standing up after sitting for a long time
* Swelling and grinding of the knee
* Pain while climbing stairs, cycling, playing soccer or walking
* If you are facing the following symptoms, you must consult the doctor and get diagnosed.
When you visit the doctor, you will be asked about your medical history and a physical examination will be carried out. If needed even an X-ray will be done to evaluate your knee health and confirm the diagnosis of this condition.
How to tackle a runner’s knee
Remember that the treatment will be prescribed based on your symptoms, age, the severity of the condition, and your overall well-being. You will have to follow the R.I.C.E method to elevate knee pain and promote healing and flexibility.
Rest enough: You have to rest enough, and avoid straining the knee area. You will be asked to avoid activities such as walking, running, squatting, cycling, or climbing that aggravate the pain.
Ice: An ice pack can do the trick here. Cold compression reduces the swelling, inflammation, and pain around the knee. Use it as advised by the doctor. Do not directly apply ice on the skin, place a towel on the area and then apply an ice pack.
Compression: Compression and wrapping the sore injured knee area with a bandage can be beneficial in reducing swelling. But, you shouldn’t wrap it too tightly as it can lead to numbness and intense pain.
Elevation: You will have to elevate the injured or sore area on pillows.
Medicines such as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be prescribed to you by the doctor, but avoid self-medication as it can be harmful to you.
You will also be suggested physiotherapy and given stretching and knee strengthening exercises. This will help to restore the knee’s full range of motion. Also, maintain optimum weight and that will not put pressure on your knee joints. Don’t forget to warm-up before exercising and cool-down after exercising. Use knee bracing after the doctor’s advice.
In case of flat fleet, shoe inserts (orthotics) will be recommended to you. Don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear, and increase your activities slowly and gradually.
(With inputs from Dr. Suhail Shaikh – Consultant in Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine, Lokmanya Hospital Pune)
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