If you've begun to notice serious discomfort around your knees, then you might look into the symptoms of runner's knee in an attempt to better understand your pain. As the title indicates, runner's knee is a common problem for runners, but it can also occur quite easily in any athlete or active individual who frequently engages in knee-bending activities.
In other words, if you cycle, run, jump, or even walk on a regular basis, then you could be at risk of developing runner's knee.
What are the Symptoms of Runner's Knee?
The typical symptoms of runner's knee include:
- Swelling around the knee joint
- Grinding or popping sensations when moving the knee
- Pain that radiates around or behind the kneecap
- Pain that increases when bending the knee through squatting, kneeling, running, or even standing from a chair
- Pain that increases when you walk at an incline, either downhill, or down the stairs
What Causes the Symptoms of Runner's Knee?
Perhaps the most complex thing to note about runner's knee is that it's not a term used for a specific injury, but rather a name given to several disorders caused by different factors, such as:
- Extensive use - high stress exercises or repetitive bending can irritate the "patellofemoral" (kneecap) joint. At the same time, overuse of the knees can cause the tendons to stretch, which causes severe discomfort.
- Trauma to the knee - falling and landing on your knees or striking one hard on a solid object can lead to damage around the kneecap that results in runner's knee.
- Malalignment - the symptoms of runner's knee can occur when bones are located outside of their intended position, leading to the uneven distribution of weight and stress.
- Foot problems - issues like flat feet, or over-active joints in the feet can place excess stress on knee tissues.
- Muscle imbalance - weakness in the thigh muscles forces the knee to take on extra weight, which can lead to pain and excess wear.
No matter the reason behind the symptoms of runner's knee however, you can expect to feel aching and pain around the knee cap, that might make it difficult to complete normal daily activities.
What Can You do About the Symptoms of Runner's Knee?
Regardless of what may have caused your runner's knee symptoms, it's worth knowing that the issue can often resolve itself when given adequate time and rest. The best way to speed up your recovery process is to avoid putting weight on the knee, and ensure the joint has as much additional support as possible when you do use it. For example, wear a neoprene knee sleeve to compress the area throughout the day, helping to aid faster healing and promote better comfort. You can also:
- Ice the knee to reduce any swelling and numb severe pain.
- Keep the knee elevated when possible.
- Ask your doctor about anti-inflammatory medications that will help with pain and swelling. Some can be obtained over-the-counter.
- Engage in regular strengthening and stretching exercises to help build the muscles around the knee and avoid future injury.