Runners Knee: A Comprehensive Look into Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
Updated: Jul 16
As a runner, knee pain can be one of the most challenging obstacles to your training. Runners Knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), can strike athletes of all skill levels, presenting a dull, generalised pain around and behind the knee cap. However, it's not exclusive to runners - the discomfort can surface in many other activities including cycling, walking, or even performing squats.
Typically, Runners Knee or PFPS is a result of a misaligned patella. A valgus knee position, as illustrated below, can be the result of excessive pronation of your feet (often associated with flat feet). This misalignment puts the tendons and ligaments surrounding your knee under undue stress, where pain can consequently develop.
Recognising the Symptoms of Runners Knee
Runners Knee or PFPS usually manifests as a dull ache behind or around the knee cap. This discomfort tends to arise due to the repeated bending of the knee during activities such as running, cycling, squatting, or climbing up and down stairs. Even extended periods of sitting with a bent knee can lead to pain. This could include long stints of sitting at your workplace or during a movie at the cinema.
In some cases, the knee may swell or produce a 'grinding' sensation when moving, further indicating the presence of Runners Knee.
Taking Steps to Alleviate Knee Pain: Runners Knee Treatment Options
Addressing Runners Knee involves a multi-pronged approach aimed at improving the position of the leg and knee, reducing the stress placed on the knee joint. At My Family Podiatry, we use a combination of strategies to treat Runners Knee effectively:
Custom Foot Orthotics: By reducing the inward rolling (pronation) of the feet, we can improve the position of the knee and alleviate the pain of runners knee.
Strength Training: Pinpointing areas of weakness that could contribute to pain allows us to develop a tailored strength program. The objective is to guide the leg into a more optimal position where the muscles can function more efficiently, helping to manage knee pain.
Soft Tissue Therapy: Stretching, foam rolling and even RockBlades can be used to release the muscles of the legs and improve the functioning of the knee joint. This release work typically focuses on the lateral leg muscles and stretching of the muscles responsible for internal rotation of the femur.
Shockwave Therapy: This innovative, non-invasive therapy can stimulate internal processes such as blood vessel formation and tissue remodeling, providing relief from knee pain associated with PFPS.
Knee pain shouldn’t stop you exercising. At My Family Podiatry, we have the experience to get you back to training and ensure runners knee becomes an issue of the past. If you or someone you know has been suffering with knee pain, please call us on 07 3088 6116 or click the button below to book an appointment.