Runner's knee (Patelofemoral pain syndrome), is a relatively common overuse injury associated with running. It is a generalized diagnosis, with symptoms of pain above and around the kneecap. The cause of runner's knee is typically a biomechanical instability of the hip, as opposed to an actual pathology of the knee. This is most easily diagnosed through slow motion analysis of the affected runner. What you will typically see in the mid-stance of the running gait is a dropping of the hip on the same side as the affected knee. This hip drop causes the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) to internally rotated, thereby putting higher stresses on the knee. The increased rotational stress will affect the ability of the kneecap to track properly in the grove of the femur, ultimately causing pain. Additionally, the increased stress can cause injury to the patellar tendon, and other ligaments of the knee.
Conservative treatments are typically the most successful, and focus on both the treatment of the injured tissues of the knee, and strengthening/technique modification to stabilize the hip. At Back In Motion in Beaverton, treatment includes instrument assisted soft tissue therapy - Graston Therapy - to break down existing scar tissue and increase blood supply to the injured area for faster healing, combined with electrical stimulation for pain management and light therapy for improved tissue healing. Additionally, we prescribe several therapeutic exercises, including the step-down exercise shown in the following video:
This is great for both rehabilitation and prevention, and we always encourage training both sides of the body.
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