Monday, March 14, 2016

What is Runners Knee and How is it Treated?

While this condition is common among runners, as the name implies, runner’s knee can occur in all many types of athletes, especially if their sport requires repeated bending of the knees.

Causes for Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee is not technically a specific injury, but more an umbrella term to include many
different disorders with various causes, including:
  •      Direct trauma or injury
  •      Overuse
  •      Malalignment of the knee (any of the bones being out of their normal position)
  •      Poor muscle balance and weak thigh muscles

Symptoms of Runner’s Knee
The most common symptoms of runner’s knee include the following: 
  • Pain on bending the knee, such as during squatting, walking, jogging/running, or kneeling.  It  can even happen when rising from a sitting position.
  • Worsening pain when walking downhill or down stairs.
  • Pain around the kneecap.
  • Swelling in the area.
  • Grinding or popping sensations in the knee.
If any of the above symptoms are present, a thorough physical examination and diagnostic studies are done to confirm diagnosis. 

Treatment for Runner’s Knee
Treatments will vary depending on the cause and severity of runner’s knee and it is best to consult with an orthopedic specialist to determine the most effective recovery protocol.

Minor to moderate cases of runner’s knee generally resolve given the appropriate amount of time and treatments.  An orthopedic specialist may recommend the following measures: 
  • Rest as much as possible.  
  • Avoid putting any weight on the knee until recovered. 
  • Elevate the knee with a pillow when sitting or lying down.
  • Compress with elastic bands, straps, or sleeves that offer stable support to the knee. 
  • Ice the knee to reduce swelling and minimize pain.  Keep ice directly on the knee for 20-30      minutes every three to four hours over the course of two to three days.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like Motrin, Advil, or Aleve.
  • Perform strengthening and flexibility exercises for the muscles around the knee and hips.
Keep in mind that it is best to consult an orthopedic specialist before starting any recovery regimen as some exercises/medications may affect the injury in different ways.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to address any cartilage problems and, in some cases, correct the malalignment so that stress upon weight-bearing would be distributed evenly.  However, surgical procedures are considered when conservative modalities have failed to provide relief and an underlying defect of the knee is present and must be addressed.

Don’t let knee pain hold you back from what you love to do! Call Advanced Bone & Joint today to learn more about our comprehensive knee treatments. To make an appointment, use our online form or call us in St. Peters or O'Fallon at (636) 229-4222.