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How to treat runner’s knee

Runner’s knee is the name given to a condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome and is caused by the underside of the knee cap rubbing against the bottom of the femur. This occurs due to muscle weakness around the hip or from tight muscles in the hamstrings, quads or hip flexors.

How long does runner's knee take to recover?

Everyone is different when it comes to injury recovery and recovery times can also depend on a number of factors such as age and how long the problem has been happening. There is no straight answer it can be a few weeks or a few months but on average it is around 4-6 weeks. The main thing to note is that runner’s knee will not get better on its own, it will involve a few changes in your training.

Riixo Knee Cuff Front

Riixo Knee Cuff

How to treat runner’s knee.

Ice

Using ice for 20 minutes will help to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by runners knee. Some inflammation is good as it is the body trying to repair itself, however, in chronic conditions such as runner’s knee it can have a detrimental effect. But managing the pain and inflammation you reduce any secondary tissue damage as well as reducing the bodies pain response.

The pain response is your tolerance level to pain and injury, but more importantly, it also determines the level of sensitivity within the body. If your pain response is heightened then every time you move or bend the knee the brain will respond with inflammation to try and protect the knee, which will increase pain and discomfort, reduce mobility and increase the pain response. You need to break the cycle and ice is the perfect way to do this.

Heat

Heat can be used to reduce pain and stiffness in the knee joint by helping to increase blood flow to the area. Applying heat before you run will help to prepare the tissues for exercise.

Apply ice, and ideally combined with compression, for 20 minutes before you start exercising.

Rest.

The word that strikes fear into every runner. But rest (and regular ice) will help the symptoms settle down. But when we talk about rest, we do not mean feet on the sofa doing nothing, it is important to keep moving within a “pain-free range”. Try a different way to exercise for a couple such as swimming, the bike or in the gym. You want to avoid impact-based exercise such as running or jumping.

Mobility.

Incorporate more mobility exercises into your training, specifically around the hips. Runners have notoriously tight hips and hamstrings. There is no prescriptive amount when it comes to these exercises and we always recommend doing them often.

Simple exercises such as lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet a bit wider than your hips. Roll your hip inward so that your knee drops to touch the ground, alternating between left and right.

Strength work.

It can often be an area over that is overlooked but supplementing your running with gym-based strength work is essential for treating and preventing runners knee. Strengthening your glutes will help with hip stability preventing the femur from rotating inwards when you are running.

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