There are few things more frustrating for runners than an injury that keeps them from doing what they love. One of the most common running injuries is runner's knee. And while runner's knee can affect non-runners as well, it gets its name from it's prevalence among runners.
You've probably heard of runner’s knee as it is one of the most common running injuries with thousands of runners, and some non-runners too, experiencing it annually. However, you may not know that runner's knee actually refers to two different but common repetitive strain injuries - iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) and patellofemoral syndrome (PFPS).
Iliotibial band syndrome typically causes pain on the side of your knee, whereas patellofemoral syndrome typically causes pain on the front of your knee, around and under the kneecap. Both types of injury usually affect runners, triathletes, hikers and serious walkers.
Patellofemoral syndrome is much more common than iliotibial band syndrome. PFPS often becomes more intense after a period of rest and the pain can be magnified by walking up and down steps and hills or on uneven surfaces. It is more common in recreational runners than elite runners, and twice as prevalent in women than men. It can last a few weeks or bother you for years.
According to William Roberts, MD, in Runner's World, "Patellofemoral pain is most often a result of abnormal biomechanics caused by problems up- or downstream from the knee, forcing the patella to bump up against the femoral groove. Think of it like a train car: The patella is like a train on the femoral groove railroad track. When the train and the track don't run smoothly against each other, pain occurs."
The main causes of runner's knee are:
Treatment includes alleviating the symptoms and addressing the cause. In the short-term, runner's knee symptoms are most effectively treated with:
However, to address the causes of runner's knee in the long-term, you'll want to consider the following issues:
If you’re looking for great runner's knee orthotics, here are a few tips:
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