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GUIDE TO COMMON RUNNING INJURIES PART 3: Runners Knee


This problem is obviously so common that they named the injury after us runners. It’s where the articular cartilage, located underneath the kneecap (patella), starts to soften and break down. This cartilage is usually smooth and allows the knee joint to move freely as the knee bends. However, as chondromalacia worsens, the cartilage breaks down, causing irregularities and roughness on the undersurface of the patella, which leads to irritation and pain of the knee joint. It can be caused by incorrect patella tracking because of weak quadriceps or over-pronation of the foot which puts strain on the knee. It could also be a result of your uneven and worn down running shoes that no longer support your foot correctly.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms can include pain beneath or on the sides of the kneecap. Crepitus or a grinding noise, as the rough cartilage rubs against cartilage when the knee is flexed. Pain is the most severe after hill running. There may even be swelling of the knee.

PREVENTION

To prevent Runners Knee from rearing its ugly head, try stretch well before running. Stengthening of quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles will help as will wearing motion-control shoes and custom orthotics to correct over-pronation.

Stretches Try squats. Perform them with your back against a wall. Bend your knees slowly to between 45 – 60 degrees. Ensure that the knee travels over an imaginary line between the big and second toes. Hold for a count of 5 seconds. Relax and stand slowly. Repeat 20 times.

TREATMENT

No single treatment works best for everyone and it is very important to give the knee a rest when the symptoms occur. Rest the knee and allow inflammation to decrease or settle. Variation Avoiding painful activities that irritate the knee for several weeks, followed by a gradual return to activity is important. Try cross-training to keep fit, it’s getting warmer so try swimming. The next step in treatment is a physical therapy program that should emphasize strengthening and flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups. Shoes A good pair of motion control shoes might do the trick.

Otherwise, a customised shoe insert (orthotics) will help you with alignment and efficiency in your stride.

SUPPORT PRODUCTS


KNEE BRACE

This support provides stability which controls movement, protecting the joint from over extension.

PATELLA STRAP R95

Provides the ideal support to reduce pain without restricting circulation.