Knee pain is one of the most common complaints for runners. “Runner’s knee” often refers to the pain you may feel in or around your knee due to excessive exercise. You feel your ligaments grind and pull when you move your knee, and it oftentimes feels worse when you walk downhill or downstairs. You may also notice some swelling, popping or grinding at your knee cap, which can be very painful and quite unnerving.
What are some different causes for runner’s knee?
Those who exercise are not the only ones to experience knee pain. It can actually be caused by a variety of factors and is not exclusive to running. Factors that may contribute to knee pain include:
- Overuse: Doing strenuous exercise, especially moves that work your legs, may cause pain in or around the knee cap.
- Injury: If you fell on your knee or something hit your knee, you may experience pain.
- Alignment issues: If your bones are not aligned from your hips to your ankles, this can cause extra pressure on your knees and subsequent pain.
- Feet problems: If you have fallen arches, hypermobile feet or overpronation, this can affect the way you walk and hurt your knees.
- Weak muscles: If your quadriceps keep the knee in place. If they are weak, your knee will not stay in place and therefore cause pain.
- Cartilage breakdown: If the cartilage behind the knee breaks down, your knee will not function properly and you will experience pain.
What can I do to treat my knee pain?
Here are a few things you can try at home in order to alleviate your knee pain:
- Rest: As much as possible, rest and avoid those movements that are causing the pain.
- Ice: Ice your knees for 20-30 minutes every three or four hours for a few days.
- Wrap: Use a patellar straps, sleeves or elastic bandages for added support.
- Elevate: Elevate your leg while sitting or laying down.
- NSAIDs: Take some ibuprofen or naproxen to help reduce the inflammation in your knee, but always check with your doctor first.
- Strengthen and stretch: Focus on strengthening and stretching your quadriceps.
- Support: Get some extra support for your feet, such as arch supports or different running shoes altogether.
Next steps to reduce knee pain for runners
If you are still experiencing knee pain even after trying these at-home treatment methods for a week or more, you should fill out the form on our website or give us a call to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists. Our physical therapists located in Union, Woodbridge and Edison, New Jersey are here to create a personalized treatment designed to get you back to your active lifestyle as quickly as possible. We not only help treat your pain, but we empower you with daily habits that will help prevent injury and pain in the future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.