Common running injuries - knee pain
Knee pain can be caused by inflammation of the knee tendon in the region just below the knee cap (patella). This is called patella tendonitis.
- Pain and/or aching with possible swelling in the area just below the knee cap.
- Pain to put pressure onto the area and when tightening the muscles of the front of the thigh.
- Pain as the foot hits the ground when running.
- Possible pain when sitting for long periods with the knee bent.
Some less common causes of pain in this area are
- training errors which result in an overload of stress
- faults in foot/leg movement (biomechanics)
- spinal problems causing muscle movement to be restricted
- tight muscles or imbalance
- weakness or poor development of certain muscles.
Self help begins with
- referral of pain (i.e. pain which originates) from the joints or nerves of the back
- referral of pain from within the knee joint itself
- cysts (filled cavities) within the tendon
- extra bone development (called a 'spur') in the lower region of the knee cap.
- rest from any activity which irritates for at least 2 days
- icing the area of pain for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours where practical
- regularly massaging into the area a topical anti-inflammatory or homeopathic cream or gel
- use of oral homeopathic remedies
- regular stretching of the thigh muscles (quadriceps), hip muscles (hip flexors and ilio-tibial band), buttocks (gluteus maximus), hamstrings (back of thigh) and calves (back of shin). The stretches should be repeated 3 times per area and held on an effective but not painful tension for at least 15-20 seconds.
If the pain has not significantly improved somewhere between 4-7 days then a consultation with a therapist or doctor who has proven experience in treating running injuries should be sought. Ask the therapist or doctor about self releasing techniques, particularly for the buttock, hamstring and 'ilio-tibial band' (the thigh muscle that runs approximately from your hip to knee) using a tennis ball under the relevant structure.
Stretch regularly will help prevent problems
Average recovery time
- Use of local electrotherapy and manual therapy techniques (massage and deeper tissue pressures to improve the quality of the tissue).
- Releasing abnormal tightness from the pelvis down towards the knee.
- Releasing any joint fixation.
- Correcting abnormal biomechanics (i.e. the way in which the leg moves).
- Strengthening and re-educating exercises where appropriate.
1-3 weeks depending on severity (longer if allowed to become chronic).
- Warm up and stretch appropriately
- Make use of regular self and professional massage
- Have a biomechanical assessment
- Avoid poor training practices
Neil qualified as a physiotherapist in 1981 and is an ex-international middle-distance runner. He has been the Chief Physiotherapist for UK Athletics and is now UK Athletics Performance Director. Since 1990, Neil has worked with many of the greats in athletics including Sally Gunnell, Colin Jackson, Jonathan Edwards, Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah.
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