Runner’s knee or otherwise known as patellofemoral pain is a dull ache behind the kneecap as a result of overuse of the knee joint. The term runner’s knee was used because the condition affects athletes more often since the knee joint are used constantly in running, jumping and others. Runners are the most common people affected by runner’s knee, but other people who bend their knees frequently can also be affected. Knee bending is seen in biking, walking, and jumping so the general population can also experience the ailment when they use their knees constantly and excessively.
Although the main reason for runner’s knee development is overuse injury, other causes may also be possible such as direct trauma to the knee area, weakness in the thigh muscles causing strain to the tendons in the knees, flat feet or over pronation resulting to strain in the soft structures in the knee to support the weight and misalignment in the knee joints.
Regardless of the cause, runner’s knee can be very uncomfortable because of the pain around the knee cap and behind the knee joint. The pain also worsens when walking making affected individuals not able to perform their daily activities efficiently. It may also cause swelling and grinding sensations in the knee. All of these boil down to the need of dealing with runner’s knee to reduce discomforts and gain optimum level of functioning. When dealing with runner’s knee, the following interventions usually helps:
Since runner’s knee is commonly caused by injury and the pain may worsen with activities involving the knee, abstaining from activities may help relieve pain and promote healing. However, this may not mean bed rest as sitting with your legs elevated can do the job. When the pain lessens, you may perform non-impact activities to promote range of motion to the joint. During recovery, swimming is a good exercise as the buoyancy of the water can improve the circulation in the legs.
Over-the-counter painkillers can be taken to reduce pain fast. Make sure to avoid aspirin as it may promote hemarthrosis or bleeding in the knee joint. Stick to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for that matter.
- Ice packs
Runner’s knee usually occurs with swelling and pain. Ice packs over the area may help reduce swelling to promote tissue healing. Apply ice packs up to 30 minutes three times a day for 3 days or until swelling subsides.
Compression around the knee joint with the use of an elastic bandage helps relieve swelling and provides adequate support to the joint when the legs are moved.
As soon as the pain is gone, stretching and strengthening exercises are important to promote increased flexibility of the soft structures around the knee joint.
During and after recovery, proper support to the feet and thighs should also be employed. In such case, the use of supportive orthotics is very helpful to maintain the neutral position of the feet to allow maximum absorption of tension in the lower extremities.
Runner’s knee is commonly a mild condition so these home remedies may help you stay out of pain and discomforts. However, when pain doesn’t seem to disappear, despite the interventions, consulting a physician may help since more severe forms of runner’s knee may require surgery.