Common running injuries - knee pain

Common running injuries - knee pain

Knee pain can be caused by inflammation of the knee tendon in the region just below the knee cap - called 'patella tendonitis'.

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. 

Symptoms

  • 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.
Knee structureCommon causes
  • 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.
Some less common causes of pain in this area are
  • 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.
Self help begins with
  • 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
stretchTreatment
  • 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.

Average recovery time

1-3 weeks depending on severity (longer if allowed to become chronic).

Prevention
  • Warm up and stretch appropriately
  • Make use of regular self and professional massage
  • Have a biomechanical assessment
  • Avoid poor training practices

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