Kicking Runner's Knee

Got knee pain?  Do you run, or do a sport that puts a lot of pressure on your knees, like bicycling, skiing, basketball, etc?  Then you likely have Runner’s Knee.  Also called, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, it’s the most common diagnosis of knee pain that people get when they go to the doctor.  It’s actually a broad umbrella term used to describe a few different problems that could be going on with your knee. 

Those include 1. chondromalacia patella, which is a condition in which the cartilage on the underside of your knee cap is deteriorating, 2. Iliotibial band syndrome, which is when your IT band becomes tight or inflamed and rubs along the bones on the outside of your knee, 3. patellafemoral malalignment, which means that your patella, the knee cap, is not aligned in the groove of the femur, your thigh bone.  Often these issues occur at the same time and for the same reasons, which is why they are lumped together in the same term. 

In Pasadena, we have a lot of runners!  So we see this syndrome quite often.  And from what we’ve seen from our patients we know that runners are some of the most dedicated athletes out there.  You want as little down time as you can have before getting back to running. 

So if you have this syndrome, what is the best way to get back to running?  First it’s always good to know how this problem developed so that you can prevent it from happening again.

For most people, muscle imbalances compounded with the repetitive motion of running cause this knee pain.  Weak or tight hamstrings, weak gluteus medius, and other hip abductors, and weak inner quad muscle, the vastus medialis, are usually the culprit.  These stabilizing muscles need to be strong to keep the knee cap in the right place. 

Running on graded roads, or running downhill also put a lot of pressure on the IT band leading to runner’s knee.  And running on harder surfaces, like concrete, and running with worn shoes can increase shock damage and inflammation on your knees. So be good to your knees!  Run on softer surfaces, inspect your shoes often for wear, and be aware of running on uneven surfaces. 

Come visit us at Blue Jean Acupuncture and we can show you stretches and exercises to balance your muscles.  These home exercises combined with acupuncture treat Runner’s knee beautifully.  Acupuncture calms down inflammation and pushes blood flow to nourish and heal the tendons in and around your knees.  We’ve had great results treating Runner’s knee over the years.  So if you want to get back to running give us a call and we can help you get your knees back in running condition!