We’ve already covered Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis and shin splints. Now we’re covering a couple of the other common jogging and running injuries – and how to treat the nagging pain!
Runners’ knee is a term used for patellofemoral pain syndrome or patellar knee-tracking syndrome. This condition causes pain around the patella (the kneecap) because the kneecap does not glide smoothly on its track (trochlea). Running, obviously, is one of the most common causes of runners’ knee, as the pavement is pretty unforgiving on knee joints–even with the latest and greatest running shoes. But even walking can lead to runners’ knee, as can biking/cycling, skiing, jumping, and sports where a lot of running is involved, such as soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.
How It Can Happen: There are quite a few ways to develop runners’ knee…aside from running, of course. Flat feet, arthritis, inflamed joints, and a lack of stretching can all contribute. So can injuries or conditions associated with the kneecap, such as dislocation, misalignment, trauma, or fracture. Any of these can result in irritation of the soft tissue or lining of the knee, worn or torn cartilage, or strained tendons–all of which can cause the pain. The condition tends to be more common in middle-aged women, especially those who have been running for several years. Overweight people are also prone to runner’s knee, as the extra weight places more stress on the knee joints.
Symptoms: Many runners experience a dull ache around or behind the kneecap, particularly where it meets the femur (thigh bone). This pain can occur during literally any activity that uses the knee joint (walking, squatting, going up and down stairs, kneeling, etc.), but especially during running. You might also experience swelling and grinding or popping in the knee.
Treatment: Most treatment of runners’ knee involves the RICE approach: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. That, coupled with over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin, Advil, or Tylenol can help relieve the discomfort. Physical therapy is also a beneficial option for treating–and preventing–runner’s knee. A PT course involving range-of-motion and strengthening exercises is generally helpful and helps prevent further flare-ups. At Physical Therapy Now in Irving, we’ll work with you to develop a routine that includes stretching and strengthening the muscles around your knee to help the joint withstand more wear and tear. Our professionals can even help you with your running form and shoe selection to help you avoid injury recurrence.
Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome occurs when a tendon called the iliotibial band (located on the outside of the leg and running from the top of the pelvic bone down to the knee) becomes irritated or swollen from rubbing against your hip or knee bones. Avid runners, especially those who run long distances, are especially prone to ITB syndrome, which accounts for about 12% of running injuries. More women experience iliotibial band syndrome than men.
How It Can Happen: Because the iliotibial band becomes irritated and swollen when it’s stretched too tight and rubs against bone, some causes include flat feet, internal tibial torsion (when the shinbone is twisted inward toward your body), some types of knee arthritis, and hip abductor weakness (a weakened ability to rotate your hip). External factors include:
- Lack of rest
- Lack of stretching before exercising
- Running downhill or on a tilted or curved surface
- Insufficient warm-up before exercising
- Cooling down too quickly after exercising
- Tight calf muscles
- Incorrect shoe type or worn-out running shoes
- Training errors or poor running form
- Increasing weekly mileage too quickly
- Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running
Symptoms: Hip pain is often a primary symptom, as well as clicking sensations such as a snap, click, or pop on the outside of your knee. Many runners experience knee pain as well as warmth and redness along the outside of the knee. At first, the pain will start after you exercise and feel like aching or burning. As ITB syndrome worsens, you’ll likely feel sharper pain the entire duration of exercise and even when you’re resting.
Treatment: Fortunately, there are multiple options for ITB syndrome treatment. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are remedies easily taken care of at home. For more severe pain, a steroid injection can help reduce inflammation. As with other running injuries, wearing the proper running shoes is critical in helping to prevent injury. Manual and physical therapy are also effective methods of treating and preventing ITB syndrome. At Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we can show you stretches (for the hip muscles) and strengthening exercises (for the hip abductors and hip extensor muscles), as well as how to best warm up before exercise and cool down when you’re done.
Get Back on Track
At Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we see all types of sports-related injuries, including common running and jogging injuries. Our experienced team knows how to get you back on your feet quickly and safely. After seeing your doctor, call us at (214) 225-0291 to set up your initial appointment. We’ll examine your injury and work with you to create the perfect treatment plan.