Understanding runner’s knee is key to injury treatment and prevention.

What is runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee is a condition of common overuse. It often happens when the kneecap is out of alignment which wears down the cartilage around the kneecap. Several other factors can also lead to pain felt by runner’s knee. During running, the kneecap needs to maintain a course of tracking. This can be disrupted through inflexibility, weakness, poor foot mechanics, or poor training habits. While it may be called runner’s knee, it’s not a condition exclusive to runners. Athletes who do a lot of knee bending or postures like squats, stairs, and lunges can also experience the aggravation of runner’s knee.

How do I know I have Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee is indicated by pain felt around the knee – especially when going up or down stairs, squatting, or sitting with the knee bent for a long time. It may feel like the knee is cracking or giving out.

1) Prevention

Runner’s knee can be traced back to biomechanical issues and can be linked to weak quads and tight hamstrings. When poorly conditioned, quadriceps aren’t able to support the patella which leads it to track out of alignment. Inflexible hamstrings put pressure on the knee. Strengthening and stretching is an important step in avoiding runner’s knee.

Additionally, if there is weakness in the hips, the pain can formulate in the knee. Pay attention to exercises to strengthen the hips and core. Stretches that target the IT band may also be key in preventing knee pain.

When running, seek softer surfaces and only increase runs by 10% per week. Additionally visit a speciality shop, like Fleet Feet, to find the proper footwear for your foot type and gait.

2) Treatment

Chicago is one of the top running cities of the world. The city’s Lakefront Path gives runners an optimal route to prepare for 5K and 10K races, the largest triathlon in the country and the second largest marathon in the nation. Given the odds that 80% of runners are injured every year, we see a lot of Chicagoans for runner’s knee and other injuries that come with active lifestyles.

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

At the first sign of knee pain, you should cut back on your current running activity. Minor cases can be addressed through R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, experts warn not to fight through the pain as this can only worsen the injury. A medical professional and doctor of Chiropractic Medicine can properly diagnose the condition. Runner’s knee can be caused by a variety of biomechanical issues, which is why it is important to have a thorough assessment.

At Aligned Modern Health, our integrative team of Chiropractors, Therapists, and Acupuncturists treat and alleviate knee pain on a daily basis.

“Runner’s knee is one of the more common sports-related injuries we see and unfortunately, if not treated, can lead to chronic symptoms,” said Dr. Vince Roberts, D.C. “Our goal in treating Runner’s Knee at Aligned Modern Health is not exclusive to pain relief. Instead of just temporarily masking the symptoms, we take a comprehensive, individualized approach to find out what is causing your pain and create a path to recovery based on that.”

Treatment for runner’s knee should begin with a thorough examination to determine what is causing your pain. Your individualized recovery map may involve adjustments to properly align the knee joint and address any underlying causes of misalignment. In conjunction with chiropractic care, our doctors will coordinate your progress with our Rehabilitation Therapy team to develop therapeutic exercises to rehabilitate the weak, tight or unstable muscular systems at the root cause of your pain.

Many of our patients treating knee pain choose natural, drug-free options to speed up recovery time and reduce pain. Acupuncture is a great treatment option for runner’s knee, as it improves circulation, release tight muscles, and helps manage pain without the side effects attached to prescription painkillers. At Aligned Modern Health, your path towards healing is an opportunity to ensure that you come out stronger than before. Runners also rely on our Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition services help them find more energy and achieve their personal best by working to restore their body to its optimal state of health and balance.

Whether you’re a casual runner or a professional, our staff of experts in Sports Rehabilitation will ensure that your recovery includes an approach to future prevention and long-lasting performance enhancement. To find out why we were voted  “Best Sports Rehab Center” in the Midwest, and to schedule a complimentary consultation visit us online.