If you are a runner, you may have heard of runner’s knee. But this common ailment that causes pain around the front of the knee also can affect skiers, cyclists, soccer players or any athlete who does activities that put heavy stress on the knees. The good news is that runner’s knee can be prevented and treated. The bad news is during recovery you’ll have to put away the running shoes for a while.
Runner’s knee actually refers to a number of medical conditions that can be caused by misalignment of the kneecap, overuse, injury, weak thigh muscles or flat feet. Symptoms typically include popping or grinding sensations in the knee, pain behind or around the kneecap, pain when bending the knee, and pain that worsens when walking downstairs or downhill. The condition can be diagnosed following a physical examination, as well as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans.
Treatment for runner’s knee starts with discontinuing the activity that causes knee pain. Minor to moderate cases should heal over time when combined with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may be recommended to help with pain and swelling.
It is important not to rush back to activities before the knee has healed. To prevent the condition from recurring or avoid it in the first place, keep thigh muscles strong and limber, use orthotics for flat feet, make sure shoes have good support, avoid running on hard surfaces, maintain a healthy weight, wear a knee brace if you have had runner’s knee before, stretch before exercising, and increase training gradually.
To find an orthopedic specialist near you, call Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake’s free physician referral service at 800-887-2525.
Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake