Understanding Runner's Knee

Runner’s knee is a painful condition and can affect anybody, despite its name. Also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee is pain that occurs when the kneecap (patella) is stressed repetitively over time.

Symptoms of runner’s knee include pain around the kneecap that worsens with activity, sitting with the knees bent, and walking up or down stairs. There may also be a clicking or popping sound when you bend your knee.

Runner's knee affects the patella, or the kneecap. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

What causes Runner's Knee?

Runner’s knee can be caused by a variety of factors which include:

  • Overuse of the knee joint
    • This is the most common cause of Runner’s Knee for runners, as you might expect
  • Alignment issues,
  • Biomechanical anomalies e.g excessive pronation which put excessive stress on the knee
  • Muscle imbalance or weakness
  • Injury to the kneecap

It typically affects teenagers and young adults, and females more than males. Runner’s Knee limits activities such as climbing stairs, kneeling, running, or jumping, but with the right treatment and healing techniques, one can reduce the discomfort.

Best Runner's Knee Treatment

Before starting any treatment plans for this condition, your doctor must first pinpoint its cause. On the bright side, runner’s knee typically doesn’t require any surgical treatment, except when the cartilage is damaged, or the kneecap is displaced entirely. Instead, we generally recommend taking prescribed pain-relief medications and following the popular RICE technique:

  • Rest: Avoid stressing the knee too much.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack or a packet of frozen peas to reduce swelling and pain.
    • Peas optional – they just happen to be small and light enough that they’re the optimal vegetable to ice your knee.
  • Compression: Wrap the knee with a bandage tightly, but not tight enough to cut off blood flow!
  • Elevation: Put a pillow below the knee when lying or sitting down to prevent it from swelling even further. If the swelling increases, you can raise the feet above your knee and the knee above the level of the heart.

In more severe cases, you may have to undergo physiotherapy as well. In any case however, we recommend regularly doing knee and foot exercises to help strengthen the knee – we can help formulate a specialized treatment plan for you, after a consultation.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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