It’s finally March and spring is peeking its wonderful head out of the cold, dark, and super long winter that has kept most of us indoors all this time.
So, before you go out and hit the trails this spring I would like to get you guys started on some physical issues that might pop up while you’re running, walking, or cycling. This whole month the Injury Report will focus on your knees and the most common injuries that you can get from over using them, from runner's knees (this week's post) to ACL/MCL tears. So, sit back and enjoy the upcoming posts.
Let’s get started.
If you have been running for a while you have had this specific injury happen to you at one point in time, I guarantee it. WebMD defines this injury as: “…is not just one condition, it’s a loose term from several specific disorders with different causes.”
Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome or runner’s knee, which is what I’m going to be referring it as for the rest of the post, is a common place for runners no matter what level you are at. It is an inflammatory injury that happens just behind the Patella (knee cap) caused by over use, muscular imbalances, collapsed arches in your feet, direct trauma to the knee, or misalignment of the tibial plateau (the bottom part of the knee where the shin starts).
It is an irritating and sometimes debilitating injury that can cause anything from a warm “fuzzy” feeling in your knee, to a stabbing sensation while walking down stairs. Some other indicators include: pain in your knee while squatting (sitting, or squatting at the gym), pain behind or around the kneecap, swelling, or a popping or grinding sensation of your knee. If you do experience any of these sensations on an ongoing basis there is a good chance that you have runner’s knee, so please consult your doctor to get properly diagnosed.
What do I do about it?
OrthoInfo suggests (very vaguely) that you stay in shape, stretch, increase training gradually, use proper running shoes, and use proper running form. Now while I do not have a problem with these recommendations there is a small problem. How do you stretch your knee when it does not allow you to go past 180 degrees of extension? You physically cannot extend your knee past 180 degrees if you do, you have successfully dislocated your knee and cause some other major issue that I will go into in a few weeks' time. So please don’t try to stretch your knees.
On the other suggestions staying in shape is imperative, and this is what this blog post will help you with. The better communication your Central Nervous System (CNS) has to the firing order of your muscles, the better off you are at staving off this injury. So, on the short, if you do not have any muscle imbalances and your muscle firing patterns are nominal then you have no runners knee.
How do I find out if my firing patterns are firing properly? And how do I know that I have no muscle imbalances?
Well that’s the easy part.
The first part is to schedule yourself in for a free assessment with us so we can challenge your ankle, knee, and hip in certain positions that will identify any range of motion deficiencies and test the joint in that position to see if it can hold a load or not.
The second part is to tailor make an exercise routine that will help you not only increase range of motion but also help you introduce proper firing sequences to your muscles to help you support that joint in use. Which in turn will help you become faster and pain free without the use of drugs or eventually surgery.
Before you do go and book yourself in. I do want to give you guys some advice on how to temporarily treat runner’s knee if, and only if, you are suffering from this injury. My three tips are:
• RICE. Rest it, Ice it, compress it, and Elevate it. Can’t get any simpler than that.
• Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Only use them if you cannot bare the pain any more
• Stop Running. I know trying to tell a runner not to run is like trying to tell a fish not to swimming, but the rest you give your knees will greatly reduce the likelihood of you causing more damage. If you just can’t stop running, then stop running hills walk them instead.
Well that pretty much wraps it up for this week. I really hope this blog post has helped you guys in one way or another, and I really hope that you take action right now by booking your free consultation with us so we can get you out on trails this spring running, walking, or cycling pain free.