Injuries are the dark side of the running hobby that we all enjoy so much. While running is a great way to keep your body in shape, keep your mind fresh, and simply enjoy the outdoors, it does come with a price sometimes. All of those strides can add up to sore joints, ligaments, and muscles. While daily soreness is just part of the game, sometimes the pain reaches a point where we need to stop and recover.
One of the injuries that is common among the running set is simply known as runner’s knee. Medically speaking, runner’s knee is called Patellofemoral pain, or pain around the front of the knee. There can be a variety of causes for the pain, including simple overuse, a misaligned kneecap, and muscle imbalance. If you are having pain when you bend your knees or run downhill, you are likely suffering from this condition.
So how to you treat runner’s knee? The first step (no pun intended) is to stop running for the time being. There is a good chance that your injury is from overuse, so stopping all running activity (and limiting bending in the knees) will help calm your symptoms. Beyond that, the treatments below can help to alleviate your pain and hopefully get you back out on the trail in no time at all.
Ice the Knee
As with most overuse injuries, applying ice to the knee can help to reduce swelling and remove the pain. Twenty minutes of ice every few hours should be enough to improve your condition.
Wrap Your Knee in a Compress
If you are up and around for the day going about your life, try wrapping the knee tightly with an elastic bandage. This will provide additional support to the knee area, and limit the amount of movement that the kneecap experiences.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Over-the-counter pills such as Advil or Aleve can reduce swelling and remove some of the pain that you are experiencing. You should not use pills to treat pain for a long period of time, so discontinue use and see your doctor if there is no improvement after a couple of days.
Elevate Your Leg
Along with ice, elevating your knee is a good way to reduce swelling. Try lying on the couch and putting your leg up for 15 minutes or so to move blood away from the area and get the swelling to go down.
Flat feet can contribute to knee problems, so consider adding supports to your shoes to improve your arch and support the rest of your leg properly. You can find supports on the shelves of the drug store, or you can have them custom made for improved results.
If you are unsuccessful in treating your runner’s knee with the methods above, you will want to see you doctor to have an X-Ray or MRI to see the full extent of the damage. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or even surgery (only in extreme cases) to take care of the problem.
This article was written for RunnersGoal.com by Matt R., a guest author