An Introduction to Runners Knee
The start of the new year normally means 1 thing. The streets are absolutely filled with runners.
Getting fit and healthy is one of the most common new years resolutions. The simplest way people approach this is to get their running shoes on and hit the pavement. However, this eagerness can often lead to; overtraining, a lack of stretching and poor running technique. Overall this can then cause a common running related injury “Runners Knee”.
What Is Runners Knee?
As stated in the name this injury is most commonly developed by people that complete running as a sport or hobby.
There are 2 main conditions we look at when describing Runners Knee.
- Injury to the knee cap itself – This often presents itself as a dull ache around the knee joint. Often pain is made worse through impact and compression of the joint. You will find running difficult especially when going up hills or stairs. This damage often occurs due to overtraining and the impact of running overtime. Furthermore another factor is if the quadriceps muscle (Thigh Muscle) is not stretched enough and becomes tight.
- ITB Syndrome – The ITB muscle is a large band of tissue that runs along the outside of your leg. Often due to running biomechanics the ITB becomes extremely tight. You will often feel the pain on the outside of the knee joint and it can be painful to touch. You will experience pain during running and going up/down stairs. Sometimes runners can experience tightness around the upper outside of the hip with this condition.
How Is Runners Knee Caused?
Both these primary problems associated with Runners Knee have the same causative factors.
- Overtraining – Not enough rest between runs or a sharp increase in training without appropriate preparation
- A lack of stretching – Running puts a lot of pressure on the leg muscles and is an extremely repetitive movement. This means you put a lot of load through the same areas on a continual basis. Overtime this leads to tightening of the muscles around the Hip and Knee. Therefore it is important you maintain these areas through proper stretching and you can even use a foam roller.
- Incorrect footwear – If you are doing any form of running on a consistent basis please go to a professional footwear shop. They will analyse your foot and running technique to give you the correct shoe based on your body.
- Lots of road running – Continual running on hard surfaces like concrete does put a large amount of impact through the knee joint. Try to vary the surface you run on. Grass and Treadmills have decreased load compared to pavements and roads.
How Can I Treat Myself If I Think I Have Runners Knee?
Due to Runners Knee having a repetitive nature it Is important you get the injured corrected properly. If you have just started to get the symptoms you must; stop running and perform other forms of cardio, Ice around the painful areas, stretch the hip flexors, stretch the ITB, stretch the quadriceps muscles and ensure you have the correct running shoes.
If the pain persists and you are unsure of what to do, please contact a professional sports injury specialist. They will advise you on the appropriate approach moving forwards.
We hope you have enjoyed Article 3 explaining the problems people face with “Runners Knee”. Keep an eye out soon for the next instalment where we give you the 4 best exercises to maintain excellent knee health.
Written By Lewis Banger
Co-Director and Lead Practitioner of Fit2Function Clinics London