Sometimes, this pain is known as Runner’s Knee. But what about those of us who don’t run and still feel knee pain? It’s more common than you think. Today we’ll explore what it could be!
The knee is a pretty intricate part of the human body. According to Summit health, “The knee joint is a meeting of three bones—the tibia (lower leg bone), the femur (thigh bone) and the patella (kneecap). The ends of both the tibia and the femur are wrapped in articular cartilage to enable them to glide smoothly together. The underside of the patella is also surfaced with cartilage, and two more pads of cartilage called menisci (singular meniscus) sit between the femur and tibia and act as shock absorbers.”
What could it be?
There are so many variables that it’s hard to pin-point one specific reason for knee pain.
Have you ever experienced knee pain? It could be from any of the following reasons:
- Injury (specifically to your knee – ruptured ligament, torn cartilage)
- Injury (above or below the knee, causing you to change your walking/running pattern/gait)
Today we will focus on Runner’s knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which is a common condition that causes pain in the front of or around the knee. It prevents many people from being able to do things like lunges, squats, jumping or high impact, walking, or running.
Why does it happen?
An injury like Runner’s knee can happen for a variety of different reasons.
Most of the time, the cause is usually a weakness in another part of the body.
For runner’s knee, we’re talking specifically about weakness in the hips and quads. This is especially true for runners or people who walk a lot, or those who use shoes that are not supportive.
Another cause could be tight/weak hamstrings & hips.
When dealing with weakness, the best thing you can do is strengthen those body parts. You could go and see a physiotherapist to help you do these movements, but I’d like to share some tips with you to try out before you go out and spend money.
Thankfully, even if you have Runner’s knee, you can treat it without having to resort to surgery!
Whether you’re treating or recovering your Runner’s knee, you can likely do any of the following and see a vast improvement.
If you have weak hips and quads:
- Strengthen! Rehab or Pre-hab exercises like clamshells, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, straight-leg raises, lateral lunges, sumo squats, and side step-ups can do wonders and improve your injury as well as help you lift more, run pain free, and reduce inflammation!
If you have tight/weak hamstrings & hips:
- If you use your hammies and hips a lot, you could probably benefit from rolling (using a foam roller) or stretching. Here is a source for hamstring stretches, and here is a source for hip stretches!
- Tightness is usually a sign of weakness. Have you ever thought of strengthening your hips and hammies instead?! Here are some exercises you can try at home to strengthen your hips and hammies!
- Other great compound exercises include box squats, single-leg deadlifts, and Romanian Deadlifts.
So what happens if I try all this and I still feel pain?
Most likely, none of the exercises or stretches above are going to help you right away. It will take consistent practice and after a while, you may notice nothing has changed. Now what?!
If you notice swelling in the knees, make sure to get it checked out by a doctor. You don’t want to assume it’s runner’s knee and then find out it’s actually something else.
Allow 3-4 weeks of constant rehab + prehab and strength training if you can handle it. If the pain remains, it’s time to see a professional to make sure you can nip it in the bud once and for all.
Let me know in the comments below if you have experienced knee pain in the past or are currently going through it. I’m personally experiencing it while working at home right now, and it has reminded me to get up more often, stretch, and do strengthening exercises! I hope you’ve learned something new today!
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