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For runners, there is nothing as invigorating, enjoyable, and meditative as going for a run. Running keeps us fit, alert, and helps us to deal with stress. However, running can take its toll on our knees, and one of the injuries that many runners sustain is runner’s knee.

What is Runner’s Knee and What are the Symptoms?

Runner’s knee refers to the swelling of the cartilage under the kneecap. Incidentally, evidence shows that runner’s knee is caused by an imbalance resulting from a weakness in another part of the body, namely weak hips and glutes, weak quadriceps, and tight hamstrings. When running, many muscles in the lower body must work together and in harmony, and when there is a weakness in one muscle or joint group, another part of the system (in this case the knee) compensates.

People experiencing patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or runner’s knee, may feel the pain as strong and sudden, or as weak and persistent around the kneecap area and even behind the knee. The pain can come and go, and the pain can even disappear when you are out on a run. Women and younger runners are much more likely to experience runner’s knee, which can feel like the knee is giving out at times. The pain can be aggravated when running on surfaces that are not flat.

Treatment and Prevention of Runner’s Knee

Incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into your running routine is critical for the avoidance of runner’s knee. Particularly, you will want to stretch your hamstrings (touching your toes with your legs crossed is a simple hamstring stretch) and do extra exercises to strengthen your quads. rnrnIf you experience runner’s knee symptoms, you should run less, rest more, and stick to flat surfaces. If runner’s knee persists, you may need to see a physical therapist or get fitted for orthopedic shoes.