Runners Knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is the most common knee dysfunction we see at Wandsworth Town Osteopathy.
The symptoms include general knee pain around, on or behind the kneecap itself and occasionally swelling around the joint line. The pain usually gets worse during activities such as running as well as doing everyday movements such as getting up from a seat and walking up and down stairs or downhill.
The reason it occurs is to do with the biomechanics of the kneecap itself. Essentially the underside of the patella is becoming irritated and inflamed due to the fact it is not flat but curved and follows a very specific groove over the femoral head. If the patella doesn’t follow the path along this groove exactly then the bone can catch and a sharp pain along with inflammation occurs.
In the case of Runners Knee the patella is being pulled to the outside edge of the groove. This is known as lateral tracking. Many reasons are to blame for the onset of the condition such as sudden increases in training, poor footwear, running on uneven training surfaces, as well as chronic hip, foot and muscular imbalances.
Fortunately there are also many ways to combat the problem. Resting the knee along with applying ice is the first priority in order to reduce swelling and pain, and decrease any inflammation around the joint.
At Wandsworth Town Osteopathy we believe soft tissue massage and stretching is key to rehabilitation as muscular imbalances have a huge impact on the patella. Tight calves, hamstrings, ITB’s, quadriceps and gluteal muscles all have the ability to torsion the leg into a position which will have a negative effect on the natural tracking of the patella. By creating flexibility through these structures there will be less pulling on the knee and the kneecap will be able to glide more comfortable without catching and causing irritation.
Orthotics maybe an option if there is excessive over-pronation of the feet caused by a structural imbalance, in which case seeing a podiatrist is advisable. A revision of your training plan is essential in order to ease back into exercise as unfortunately Runners Knee rarely a quick fix. However by combining manual therapy with a stretching regime and educating yourself about how the symptoms came about means that you’ll be back running in no time.
Please book in with any one of our osteopaths to relieve treatment for Runners Knee.