The term “runner’s knee”, also known as chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is not really a disease on its own. It is a loose term used to describe pain around the inside of the knee, usually caused by irritation to the cartilage under the kneecap. As its name suggests, runner’s knee is a common ailment among runners. However, it can also affect anyone that participates in activities or sports that involve consistent bending of the knee.
Visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis if you suspect you have runner’s knee. Some common symptoms of runner’s knee are:
- Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.
- Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting.
- Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill.
- Popping or grinding sensations in the knee.
* Source: WebMD Runner’s Knee Symptoms
Wearing a runner’s knee brace can help prevent patellofemoral pain. The brace helps hold the knee in alignment and may help prevent wear and tear on your knee cartilage. Running on softer surfaces and strengthening the thigh muscles can also help you avoid runner’s knee.
Prevent Runner's Knee
Chondromalacia of the patella, commonly known as Runner’s Knee, can definitely be a major pain – quite literally. It usually occurs as runners reach the 40 miles per week mark, and persists even after taking short breaks from running, which is why it tends to annoy the most dedicated of runners. Because running often works to develop the hamstring muscles faster than the quads, the power imbalance within the thigh can be enough to slide your kneecap out of its normal groove. Ouch. Runner’s knee can also occur as a result of overpronation or supination, which means turning your feet in or out too much while running.
Luckily, there are a few surefire ways to get your knees functioning better throughout your runs. Be sure to ice your knees immediately after running, for at least 15 minutes. Treat the pain with anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen or aspirin that will also help to relieve the swelling, and consult your doctor about possibly purchasing orthotics for your running shoes to balance out any foot problems.
Another way to treat Runner’s Knee is to use a knee support brace while running, such as the DonJoy Cross Strap (pictured above). These braces apply comfortable but effective pressure on the patellar tendon to help alleviate pain around the kneecap. Be sure to measure your knee before ordering to ensure that you receive a well-fitting brace that will work best for you. Using these simple methods, you can say goodbye Runner’s Knee, and get back to focusing on the marathon at hand.