I finally laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement! Not going to lie I was a little worried I would die mid-way through or get knee pain, but all went well and I have to say it felt so amazing to run again! I definitely missed it and I cannot believe it took me this long to work up the motivation to get outside! With that being said I am hoping to run during the week at lease 2-3 times and complete a longer one on the weekend. Aka I am going to drag my boyfriend along for constant motivation since he’s the type that can literally get up off the couch and run a half marathon. And I’m not kidding since the last half we did together that is exactly what he did. Hate people that can do that!
So with running I used to suffer from runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome). I would finish up from a long run and my knees would literally hurt so bad I would not want to move. I would use the RICE system (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and the pain did subside especially on my short runs but on my longer runs thats when I would still experience the pain.
So what exactly is patellofemoral syndrome and how can you prevent it?
Patellofemoral pain is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. This is extremely common in the runner’s world and one of the most common injuries in the knee.
-repeated stress on the knee-jogging, squatting, climbing stairs
-chondromalacia, softening and breakdown of the cartilage on the underside of the knee cap
-most common pain is a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee
-pain during exercises especially during activities that repeatedly bend the knee
-pain after sitting for a long period of time when your knees are bend
-pain related to a change in activity level, intensity or playing surface
-popping or crackling sounds in your knee when climbing stairs or when standing up after prolonged sitting
So What Exactly Happens To Cause Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?
Muscles are connected to bones by tendons. The quadriceps tendon connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the knee cap. Segments of the quadriceps tendon attach to the Tibia (shin bone) to help stabilize the knee cap. Stretching from your knee cap to the tibia is the patellar tendon.
The knee cap rests in a groove onto of the thigh bone, allowing the knee cap to move back and forth when you bend or straighten your knee.
When you have a loss of cartilage of the under side of the knee cap the rubbing that occurs when you bend and straighten your knee can cause pain and irritation.
Your quad muscles could also be under and overdeveloped in some areas. So when you are bending and straightening your leg, instead of being pulled forward and back by the patellar and quadricep tendon, your muscles are trying to pull it in a lateral direction. This again, can cause pain and irritation.
What You Can Do To Prevent Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Stretch your IT Band (this muscle is normally tight and overactive and also pulls your knee cap laterally which causes pain)
Strengthening the quad muscles (especially the VMO and rectus femoris- these are nearly impossible to isolate but can still be worked in all leg exercises)
Stretch your calf muscle
Ice after runs (ice for 20 minutes with your leg elevated to heart level)
*you can also use kinesiotape or a brace to hold your knee cap in its proper place. This should not be used forever. It should be a temporary fix while you continue to strengthen and stretch surrounding muscles.