One of the most common over-use injuries for runners is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or more commonly known as runner’s knee. This injury occurs “when a mistracking kneecap (patella) irritates the femoral groove in which it rests on the thighbone (femur),” according to Runner’s World. It’s extremely hard to pinpoint the exact cause of this overuse injury because there are so many possibilities. Runner’s World gives the following as possible causes for runner’s knee:
- The patella may be larger on the outside than it is on the inside, it may sit too high in the femoral groove, or it may dislocate easily.
- Worn cartilage in the knee joint reduces shock absorption, high-arched feet provide less cushioning, and flat feet or knees that turn in or out excessively can pull the patella sideways.
- Tight hamstring and calf muscles put pressure on the knee, and weak quadriceps muscles can cause the patella to track out of alignment.
- Constant overuse alone can also stimulate soreness.
Women are more likely than men to develop runner’s knee because they have wider hips, putting the kneecap under more stress. Runner’s knee also affects mostly younger, recreational (non-professional) runners.
I have recently developed runner’s knee, only a month and a half into my 5k training, but I’m looking at some options to relieve the stress from my knee. For me I’m pretty sure the cause is from overuse because I exercise six out of the seven days in a week. To combat my runner’s knee I’ve read that there are specific stretches targeted at relieving stress from the kneecap. One of the most important stretches is for the iliotibial band, this is the tendon that runs from the hips down the outside of your thigh and tucks in just below the knee.
Below is a pretty good video outlining some stretching exercises to heal your runner’s knee.