Written by: Vincent Chou
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)
With the recent completion of City2Surf and the upcoming Blackmores Half Marathon. This month we are discussing the most common injury seen in running, patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or runner’s knee. We aim to help you determine the symptoms of this injury, provide some simple tips and strategies you can employ to minimise your risk of developing injury and where to seek help if you are already suffering from this condition.
What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?
PFPS is a very common condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 5 in the general population, this likelihood further increases for persons involved in high levels of physical activity. Furthermore, females are 2.5 times as likely to develop PFPS than males. PFPS is an injury that develops gradually and can last for months if left untreated. Commonly it presents with symptoms of diffuse pain or discomfort at the front of the knee, usually made worse during activities such as running, walking up or down stairs or squatting.
PFPS is often thought of as an overuse injury and is caused by excessive pressure on the patellofemoral joint. It is usually a combination of several factors that cause this extra pressure through the knee joint. Factors such as an increased level of physical activity, lower limb muscle imbalances, previous trauma/injury and anatomical abnormalities puts you at a higher risk of developing this condition.
What can I do?
To minimise your chance of developing this condition here are a couple of things you can do.
Warm up before any physical activity. A light 5-10 minute warm up routine is crucial to decreasing your chance of developing injuries. A light cardio workout prepares your muscles for a heavier load and in this way they are less likely to get injured.
Stretching. Stretching after exercise keeps the muscles from becoming too tight, this way the muscles are less likely to overstretch and tear during physical activity
Gradually increase physical intensity
Wearing correct shoe wear
Avoiding activities that aggravate any pain or discomfort in the knee
If you already have this condition, research shows that physical therapy is recommended as an initial treatment followed by bracing or taping. At Osmosis Chiro we are trained to assess and treat PFPS using the best evidence based research available to help you get back to running as soon as possible. As this condition is a muscle imbalance/overuse injury, our treatment will involve a personalised exercise programme for you to follow and is designed to help you with a faster recovery.