Runner’s knee is also known as Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee, is one of the most common types of injuries occurring in professional or amateur runners, accounting for 20% of all types of injuries.
The symptoms of runner’s knee start with mild pain under your kneecap while you are running. In the early stages, pain stops as soon as you stop running, so many people do not seeking medical help at once. However, if left untreated, the pain will increase in severity and will continue to affect you even after you have stopped running.
The good news is that treatment for runner’s knee is simple, non-invasive and you can do it at home with minimum medical supervision. However, the most severe cases, left untreated for a long time, may require surgery. This should be a powerful enough reason not to ignore pain in your knee while you are running, and seek the doctor’s advice as soon as possible.
This being said, the usual path to recovery from runner’s knee looks like this:
First Stage: 2-3 Days of Complete Rest
You should avoid all types of effort and putting your body weight on the injured leg.
Runner’s knee is not only painful, it also causes swelling and inflammation in your knee,
so you should apply ice packs for 20-30 minutes every four hours.
It is also useful to find a pillow on which you can rest your injured knee in an elevated position. This will improve blood flow through the leg and help reduce swelling. During this period, you should keep your movements to a minimum and use crutches when you have to walk, so that you spare the injured knee all kinds of efforts.
Second Stage: First Light Exercises
There is no specific timeline for the recovery from runner’s knee, except for your doctor’s recommendations. However, as soon as you are cleared to start walking and applying some weight on the knee, you should do so wearing an elastic bandage to offer as much support to your knee as possible.
In parallel, your doctor may prescribe certain anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication of the non-steroidal type. This medication should be taken strictly according to the doctor’s prescription, because its side effects include bleeding and occurrence of ulcers.
Third Stage: Mobility and Strength Exercises
Once you can take off the elastic bandage, you should start a routine of specific exercises to regain mobility and strength. Stretching exercises are extremely effective and recommended by all physical therapists.
In parallel, you may use arch support for your foot, to correct your walking posture. Arch supports, or orthotics, are inserted in your shoes and offer firm support to your soles. They can be bought online or from shops, or they can be made bespoke; before you decide, ask your doctor or Physiotherapist about this.
Just as with every other stage of runner’s knee treatment, you should ask your doctor before returning to your regular running routine. In general, you are completely cured when you feel absolutely no pain in your knee during walking and exercising, when you can fully bend and extend your knee with no pain and you can place as much body weight on it as you can on the healthy knee. It can be tricky and tough to come back from Runner’s Knee patellofemoral pain syndrome, but we are here to help.
In conclusion, the runner’s knee is a frequent occurrence in runners, which can be treated very easily and without complex medical procedures if you seek medical advice as soon as you notice its first symptoms. So if you feel pain in your knee under your kneecap, even at bearable levels, do not ignore it. The sooner you act, the faster your recovery will be.