Today I’m going to share with you some great information about runner’s knee.
If you’re a runner, you’ve probably heard of runner’s knee. Runner’s knee is common in runners, of course, but what is it? What’s happening when a runner has pain in the knee?
In the knee joint, there are two bones that come together – the femur on top and the tibia on the bottom. In between those two bones is your patella, which is your knee cap. Most people can feel their knee cap right on top of their knee. It slides in a groove between those two bones.
As it’s sliding up and down in that groove, it’s being held in place by the quadricep muscles and it inserts into the tibia underneath. If those four quadricep muscles are unevenly balanced in strength, the knee cap will start to be pulled out of the groove to one side more than the other.
When this happens, it’s going to start to grind or click or pop as you bend your knee. So if you have constant clicking or popping every time you bend your knee or when you go to get up from kneeling, this could be because of a runner’s knee.
The medical term is Chondromalacia Patella – ‘chondro’ means related to cartilage and ‘malacia’ is an abnormal softening of tissue, usually cartilage. Chondromalacia Patella is a condition characterized by the softening and breaking down of the tissue on the underside of the patella, the kneecap.
It can be very painful, especially after running or using the knee for a while.
The good news is that there are treatments that can correct this, and it can be corrected in just a couple of months. It’s not a quick fix, but if you want to actually fix the problem and make it last, certain exercises and treatments need to be done.
One of the things we can do is rebalance the muscles in the quadriceps – some will need to be strengthened and some will need to be stretched – so the patella will stay in the middle of the groove and not be pulled to one side.
There are also other hands-on therapies we can do to stretch out the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the area. And there are tools we use to break up adhesions.
Runners can also wear a very special knee brace that pulls the patella over into the groove while they’re running. This allows them to continue running without damaging the knee further. The brace is a very useful tool and our patients get good results with it.
If you or someone you know suffers from runner’s knee, leave a comment below. Or you can share any tips you may have for runner’s knee. And we’d be happy to share more information as well.