Patellofemoral Syndrome, also known as chondromalacia, or by the much more common name “runner’s knee,” is an injury common to most runners. Patellofemoral syndrome involves pain in the knee cap area brought on by running too much when you are not ready. Here are suggestions about to cope with patellofemoral syndrome.
Causes of Runner’s Knee Injuries
Runner’s knee almost exclusively seems to occur when runners incorporate high mileage, intense speed-work, and racing into their training without easing into the new workload. The injury also occurs when a runner runs in worn out shoes, or has an over-pronation problem. Thus, it is essential to run only in high-quality, supportive shoes. You may also want to visit a podiatrist for orthodics if you suspect that you might be an over-pronator. However, these will not help you if you already have pain.
How to Treat and Cure Patellofemoral Syndrome Injuries
Here are some suggestions for trying to heal a runner’s knee problem:
RICE: RICE stands for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation”. It is the default treatment for essentially any running injury. The first letter, “R”, is perhaps the most important. If you are feeling knee pain, don’t try to tough it out! Take at least two days off and give your body the chance the heal! Running on a sore knee will only prolong your suffering. Remember that taking a few days, or even a week off, is better than losing the entire season because you failed to be patient. As for the last three letters, I have found that the best way to to carry out “ICE” is to follow this method: 1) Freeze water in a paper cup in the freezer, 2) When frozen, take the block of ice out of the freezer and roll it over your knee for about 10 minutes, 3) Afterward, wrap an ace bandage or towel around your knee and, while lying on your back, prop your leg up on a chair, 4) After 10 minutes, take the towel/ace bandage off and repeat steps 1-3, 5) Try to do this at least 2-3 times per day.
NSAIDs: “NSAID” stands for Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug. NSAIDs include Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Motrin IB), Naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs do a great job at reducing inflammation in the body and promoting healing. While these drugs may be help to help you if you are hurt, please be careful not to abuse the drugs. Only take them for about a 2 week period because extended use can really do bad things to your kidneys. I have heard some horror stories about runners who used NSAIDs for months on end who are now suffering from serious kidney issues. Therefore, use NSAIDs if you have a runner’s knee problem, but please don’t overuse them.
LIGHT stretching: In combating patellofemoral syndrome, it is important to understand that your knee pain may actually be the symptom of a problem originating from another part of your body. Tight hamstrings, calves and quads are often responsible for knee issues. Make a habit to lightly stretch these areas at least three times a day.
Strengthen the quadriceps muscles: Sometimes patellofemoral syndrome is directly related to weak quadriceps muscles (especially the inner quad muscles). As your knee pain subsides, try to incorporate some light quadriceps strengthening exercises. One good exercise is to sit on the floor with your affected leg out in front of you. Turn your affected leg’s foot to the outside at a 45 degree angle, and gently tighten your inner quad muscles for 10 seconds. Release for 10 seconds. Tighten the muscles for 10 seconds again. Repeat at least ten times. Hopefully this exercise will strengthen the muscles enough to take pressure off of the knee.
See a professional: To be honest, if you really want to cure patellofemoral syndrome, stop reading my page and go see a profession sports medicine physician and/or a physical therapist as soon as possible. As stated above, also make an appointment with a podiatrist for a possible prescription for orthodics. If you are an over-pronator, all the ice and stretching in the world is not going to cure a chronic runner’s knee problem. Over-pronation, by twisting the knees and hips as your foot lands, puts a tremendous amount of strain on the knee. You can get an idea if you are an over-pronator by looking in the mirror as you walk. If your knee excessively rotates inward (faces the other knee), you might be an over-pronator. However, only a professional can correctly diagnose over-pronation, so taking time to make an appointment with a doctor will get you back to running far quicker than any advice that I can offer you.
Keep a running log: Although a running log will not cure an injury, it can help you discover why an injury occurred. By tracking your mileage, workout intensity, and frequency of workouts, you will be able to find errors in your training (i.e. not taking enough rest) that cause injuries to happen. Without the help of a running log, it is highly likely that you will continually repeat past training errors and suffer future injuries. The best way to start keeping a log is to sign up for a Runner’s Resource online running log.
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