Runner's Knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is an irritation of the cartilage on the back of the patella (the kneecap) that causes pain in one or both knees.
Several different things can cause patellofemoral pain syndrome: (1) Overuse of the knee, typically as a result of high-impact athletic activities that require running and jumping; (2) Misalignment of the muscles, such as if any bones are slightly out of their correct position and physical stress is not evenly distributed throughout the body; (3) Improper tracking of the patella on the femur, which can happen when certain muscles in the thighs are not strong enough to allow for the proper tracking to take place and the muscle imbalance throws them off; (4) Acute injury to the knee; and (5) Imbalances in the feet, such as fallen arches or overpronation. When you have severe stress on the cartilage that covers the underside of the patella as it slides against the knee joint, inflammation and pain can develop.
The most common symptom is a dull aching sensation under and around the kneecap that becomes most noticeable after long periods of sitting, squatting or walking down stairs. The knee may also catch, grind or pop.
Treatment options include rest, ice, medications, physical therapy, taping, knee sleeve, and in severe cases, surgery. Your physical therapist can also work with you on developing a stretching and strengthening program that will correct imbalances in your knees.
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