Runners knee is a condition resulting from irritation under and around the kneecap. As the name suggests this is a problem often affecting athletes and runners but can also affect other people who are not particularly active physically. Runners knee can be extremely painful and I often hear of runners having given up on running as a result, so it is important to understand how to prevent it or how to deal with it properly, to put it to bed.
Firstly, lets recognize that our joints are NOT subjected to ‘wear and tear’ as we’re often made to believe.
That image of scraping cartilage, breaking away bit by bit is harsh and uncalled for. Our body’s ability to serve our physical requirements is truly amazing! The human body can adapt, be conditioned and heal – especially during repetitive activities like running…
When we perceive pain, it’s a fearful output from the brain, a response after having processed multiple inputs, rather than an indication of tissue damage occurring. Having said that however, progressive pain should be acknowledged more promptly as this may indicate a progressive situation, be that fear, sensitivity or damage; In the absence of progressive pain, our joints become stronger and more resilient in response to exercise (yes, even with shock/impact activities) in the same way that muscles do – we simply need to ensure that they’re all on the same page while creating and controlling the various movements. This comes down to each person’s individual biomechanics and explains quite easily how resting might help you feel better while you’re resting but returning to activity causes the same problem again – because the cause wasn’t addressed while resting.
A common finding in people complaining of runner’s knee, is either a sudden start/increase in activity and/or biomechanical changes resulting in an altered movement pattern of the knee cap. We can improve on that instantly with various strapping techniques while teaching you to change how your muscles fire naturally, to ultimately move on without any strapping or medication requirements.
Conditions related to how the joints move (including runner’s knee), are the ones that respond poorly to surgery because the biomechanics can never be addressed in theatre. The post-operative rehabilitation process is aimed at the biomechanics, but post operatively, our starting point is one of increased pain, reduced range of motion, and actual joint and soft tissue damage, resulting in a longer road to recovery.
Progressive pain during exercise or from one day to the next, is a clear indication that some intervention is required. But even the mild, consistent ache during or after a run can benefit from an assessment and rehabilitative exercises to neutralize the forces negatively impacting on your natural movement.
Your health and physical wellbeing should be a priority deserving of quality care. Make sure to discuss any concerns you may have directly with your preferred physiotherapist, so that you can receive the appropriate guidance for your unique situation.
082 334 9028
Valley Centre Offices
396 Jan Smuts Avenue
(Convenient parking off Marian Road, behind the centre, up the ramp)
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