One of the signatures of patellofemoral pain,or pain around the kneecap, is increased discomfort when running, squatting, kneeling, going up or down stairs, or participating in sports. For many runners it resolves on its own in a few weeks with rest. If not, you might be tempted to keep pushing yourself through patellofemoral pain and running but it’s unlikely to resolve without some form of intervention. Here’s what you can do right now to feel better.
How Can You Help Yourself Right Now?
The first step is to take a few days off from running to rest, along with an ice/cold pack to the front of the knee for 10-20 minutes every 4 hours while you’re awake. Then, after 3-7 days of rest, add a series of dynamic warm-up exercises before your run along with gentle stretching afterward. Taking these steps can reduce or even eliminate symptoms. Introduce a regular schedule of rest days so your knee and the surrounding muscles can recover from running.
What Steps Can You Take to Prevent This Pain?
A number of factors can contribute to patellofemoral pain, such as patellar/foot posture, muscle weakness (especially of the lateral/posterior hip), compensatory tightness of the anterior knee muscles, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and poor running form. Ensure your knees are getting proper support and alignment through quality footwear. Because the choice of running shoes is highly individualized, it’s advisable to go to a specialized running shoe store to try shoes out on a treadmill before purchasing. You may benefit from either prefabricated inserts or custom orthotics. These strategies for self-care can help reduce force through the knees that could make your pain more intense or your condition worse. You can also try self taping options to unload pressure and realign your patella with brands such as KT Tape, Kinesio tape, or Leukotape. For long-term solutions, consult with a doctor of physical therapy for a comprehensive examination and treatment plan.
Why Get Professional Guidance from a Physical Therapist?
Left untreated, patellofemoral pain can accelerate degenerative joint disease of the knee and the surrounding tissue, including loss of cartilage and chronic pain that would make continuing long-term running prohibitive. In extreme cases, knee replacement may become necessary if the joint damage becomes severe. A physical therapist can help you strengthen your knees and restore your ability to run pain-free.
Are You Concerned About Patellofemoral Pain and Running?
Advance Physical Therapy is a state-of-the-art sport rehabilitation and physical therapy practice offering runners effective treatments so they can resume their activities feeling well and making progress toward their fitness goals. Our providers are highly skilled at orthopedic manual therapy, McKenzie mechanical assessment and treatment, Mulligan Concept treatments, traditional orthopedic physical therapy assessments and treatments and the ASTYM soft tissue mobilization system to support recovery of a wide range of conditions and injuries. Contact us to learn more about our services, treatments and resources to manage patellofemoral pain and running.
Get a Handle on Patellofemoral Pain and Running with the Help of a Skilled Physical Therapist Specializing in Sports Rehabilitation for Burien Athletes
Serving South King County, including Burien, Normandy Park, Des Moines, Kent, Seattle & Tukwila