Runner’s knee (also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome) is a condition that occurs when one experiences knee pain when running. It is the reason behind around 20% of knee pain complaints. While common, runner’s knee is not an injury in and of itself but it is caused by a variety of reasons that ranges from simple overexertion to complex medical conditions. It is commonly experienced by runners but it can also trouble people who bike, walk, bend, or jump a lot.
Most of the pain involved is concentrated around the knee cap. This knee pain when running is often felt mildly at first until the pain worsens gradually. Ordinarily, the pain should stop after running or performing activities that can strain the knee. However, continuous training can cause a runner to feel the pain even at rest.
Knee pain when running
Doctors have found no direct cause for runner’s knee as tests have found no structural damage or abnormality that may be the underlying cause of the pain. As such, the condition itself cannot be treated and only the pain can be targeted to cause relief. However, several correlations have been found among people who have experienced runner’s knee. And these conditions are likely contributing to the pain experienced:
- Trauma –a previous injury to or near the area might have not fully healed and is affecting the knee while running
- Flat feet –simple body mechanics tell us that having flat feet disturbs the natural way in which our feet absorbs the impact of force hitting the body as we run. Flat feet force the ankle to roll in and increase the force received by the inner joint of the knee.
- Overuse –knee pain when running can simply arise from overworking the knee while not giving enough time for the body to adequately recover as the nerves in the area may become irritated due to repeated use and the tendons may be overstretched
- Hip and thigh muscles –weak hip and thigh muscles cannot properly support rigorous movement and usually cause weakness in the knees that might lead to pain or even injury.
- Uneven distribution of weight –due to the misalignment of legs, improper posture, incorrect figure while running or exercising, weight can be distributed unequally causing the knees to overcompensate. Being obese or overweight is also a reason.
Running is great for the body. Still, it is important to listen to it and to not push beyond the physical limitations of the body. There is no single cause for knee pain when running as reasons for it often overlap. Pain is the body’s method of making us know that there’s something wrong with it. As such, it is advisable to temporarily stop running or performing strenuous activity when the knee (or any body part) starts hurting.
It is important to figure out what’s wrong before the damage or injury becomes permanent. While it can be beneficial to learn what’s wrong with our bodies ourselves, it is still important to seek professional medical help as they are the ones who can provide an appropriate diagnosis and suggest treatment before the condition worsens.
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