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Runner's knee - what you need to know

Runner's knee, also known as patello-femoral joint syndrome occurs not only in runners, but also in those that go walking, skiing, cycling and play a variety of sports than involve jumping and rapidly changing direction.

Patients usually describe a dull, aching pain around or behind the knee cap (patella), and tends to affect more females, and those who are overweight. Pain is often worse when walking, going up and downstairs, squatting, kneeling, running and sitting for long periods with the knee bent. Swelling, and popping and grinding may also be reported.

There are a number of causes, due to the potential of hip, ankle and foot mechanics affecting knee function, and these include:-

# Weak and/or tight muscles surrounding the knee and hip

# Overuse

# Osteoarthritis

# Poor patella mobility or tracking

# Flat feet

# Previous trauma to the patella

# Poor flexibility

With an acute episode of runner's knee, the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation principal applies. The true cause of this injury is crucial, otherwise the potential for relapse is high. Prevention is always better than cure, so follow these tip on preventing runner's knee:-

# Follow a strength and conditioning programme to provide adequate stability for your body to function.

# Dynamic and static stretching to allow a good degree of joint mobility and soft tissue elasticity.

# Approach exercise and intensity gradually, to avoid excessive loading to the knee joint and soft tissue structures.

# Invest in cushioned footwear to absorb the shocks and forces transferred through various sports.

# Allow plenty of rest for tissue healing and recovery.


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