Runners knee recovery- an intro
If you’ve found this post it’s because you are suffering from some knee pain when running or walking. Runners knee is a general term for pain around the kneecap or patella. Symptoms in this region vary widely from being a low-grade annoyance to a complete inability to run.
The cause is also somewhat unknown. Some theorize that the pain is due to a misalignment of the knee cap. Misalignment is thought to be due to weak inner thigh muscles and tight outer thigh tissue or IT band.
However we are in the business of looking at runners knee recovery, and have rounded up 10 ideas to try on your recovery from runners knee.
Treatments such as knee braces or taping to change the position of the patella have been used to theoretically minimize the misalignment. These treatments do seem to improve knee function, however, MRIs performed while tape is applied has not shown a change in the alignment of the kneecap. Additionally, the model that the back of the kneecap is the source of the pain is questionable since there are very few, if any pain receptors in this area.
8 ways to help runners knee recovery
- butt strenghtening! Yes you heard us right. Research is showing that strengthening of the butt muscles to improve the biomechanics of the entire leg is the most likely way to improve your runners knee pain. Test yourself by standing on one leg and squatting half way down 5 times. If you can keep your knee centered over your foot while squatting then you have good gluteal function. If your knees wobble or moves inward you should focus on gluteal strengthening.
- Stretching. A good stretching regime is is often helpful for runner’s knee recovery. Give extra attention to the hamstrings, calf muscles and quadriceps.
- Balance training. This is an essential component of any knee rehabilitation program. Balance training restores your body’s coordination so that when you run your knee alighment is optimal.
- Running form can have a dramatic effect on knee pain, especially if your knees roll in when you run. Improve your running form if this is the case.
- Try insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) which may be able to support the foot in a way that reduces strain on the knee.
- A knee brace that has a cut out for the kneecap and a way to adjust pressure on the kneecap can be helpful. Most runners also prefer a cut out region in the back of the brace. Adjust the pull on the kneecap until you find a position that cuts down your pain when you run. You should start by adjusting the brace to pull the kneecap inward, then try inward and upward or inward and downward. I have even had some patients that prefer the brace to pull the kneecap outward. If the brace is going to help, you should notice some improvement immediately. Try not to wear the brace all day. It will probably be more beneficial if it is worn when you are more active.
- A physical therapist can perform an evaluation to specifically assess strength, flexibility, balance, etc and design an appropriate program for you. They may also try taping techniques that can provide more specific pressure around the kneecap.
- Glucosamine has become popular in the management of knee arthritis. In my experience it can also help for “Runner’s Knee recovery”. The recommended dosage is 1500 mg per day. Currently there are no known side effects and some indication that it may slow cartilage degeneration. *check with your doc.
we hope this advice helps with a swift and lasting runners knee recovery!
other posts we think might help:
- our general advice for recovery is always worth a read here.