Runner's knee or patello-femoral joint pain is a common reason for pain at the front of the knee, and doesn't just affect runners. Symptoms are often worse on activity, and can include sensations of clicking or grinding of the knee cap.
Initial advice would be to remove activities that make the pain worse, rest, ice, and home-based rehabilitation. Physical therapy can also be beneficial to effectively diagnose the injury, and to accelerate the healing process. Zago, J., et al. (2020) looked into the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) versus an exercise programme in runners with runner's knee.
82 runners were randomised into 3 groups: OMT, exercise programme and a control group. The OMT group received joint manipulation and myofascial release in the lumbar spine, hip, sacroiliac joint, knee, and ankle regions. The exercise group performed specific exercises for lower limbs, The control group received no intervention.
There was a significant pain decrease in the OMT and exercise group when compared to the control group. The OMT group increased functionality, decreased plantar pressure in the midfoot, and increased Hamstrings flexibility. Hip extension only increased in the exercise group. This study shows the that both OMT and exercise programmes are effective in the treatment of runner's knee.
Zago, J., et al. (2020). Osteopathic manipulative treatment versus exercise programme in runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome: A randomised controlled trial.