Contrary to what the name suggests, runner’s knee can affect anyone in the population regardless of their age and how often they don their joggers.
Interestingly, runner’s knee is not actually a specific injury, but rather a blanket term that covers the pain associated with a number of different issues. Patellofemoral pain – the medical term for runner’s knee – is attributed to a number of different issues ranging from overuse of the knees, a malalignment of the leg bones, foot problems, weak or unbalanced thigh muscles, and Chondromalacia patella, a condition in which the cartilage under your kneecap breaks down. When treating Patellofemoral pain, physiotherapists need to consider every possible factor in order to prescribe the right treatment.
Firstly, we need to look at muscle imbalances within the patient’s body. Perhaps certain muscles aren’t working as efficiently as they should be and the knee is overcompensating as a result. Poor gluteal control, for instance, is a major influence on your knee alignment when running.
Secondly, we need to analyse the biomechanics of a patient’s walking, climbing stairs and running style. By studying the articulation of a patient’s body, physiotherapists can garner a clearer understanding of the underlying issues causing extraneous stress on the knees. This enables the practitioner to help the patient reconfigure their gait and rectify the cause of pain. With runners, it is just as imperative to examine the patient’s training load as their running technique.Even minute increases in hill, speed, distance and intensity training can predispose a runner to serious and inhibiting knee injuries.
The positioning of a patient’s feet and ankles as well as their choice of footwear has a marked effect on the conditions of their knees. How you strike your foot when you run or walk – with the heel, midfoot or forefoot – largely influences how and where you bear the impact of your stride.
At Bangalow Physiotherapy, we can fully assess all of the above and help you on your road to recovery.