What is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s Knee, also referred to as patellofemoral pain, is an injury to the kneecap, or patella. Your patella is a flat, round-edged, inverted triangle of bone that sits at the front of your knee. It’s designed to protect your knee against injury. The patella is connected to the quadriceps muscle by the quadriceps tendon above, and to the tibia by the patellar tendon below. Damage to these tendons or to the patella itself can result in runner’s knee.
Symptoms of Runner’s Knee
Runner’s Knee pain is usually concentrated in the very front of the knee, although you can also feel pain around the kneecap or behind it. The pain gets worse when you bend the knee or squat, and you might hear a popping, grinding, or grating sound.
Causes of Runner’s Knee
This injury can be caused by overuse and repetitive motions, like running or jogging, or by a direct hit to the kneecap from a fall or a collision. Cartilage behind the kneecap can erode with age, or tendon injuries can cause the patella to slide to one side or the other. You can also develop this condition if your bones don’t align properly from hip to ankle, or if you have problems with your feet that make you stand, walk, and run awkwardly.
Treatment for Runner’s Knee
R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and OTC painkillers are the typical first line of response for cases of Runner’s Knee. If these don’t work, Dr. Strasburger may recommend physical therapy with stretching and strengthening to support your quadriceps muscles. If the problem is alignment of your legs and feet, special orthotics or arch supports in your shoes may help. If necessary, Dr. Strasburger can perform surgery to address damage to the cartilage behind the patella or repair stretched or torn tendons. Bracing may be needed after surgery for Runner’s Knee to provide support during healing.