Runner's Knee damage occurs at the connection of the kneecap (patella) and the lower end of the thigh (femur). Injury to this location will often result in patellofemoral pain (around the front of the knee) that may require medical intervention. The degree of injury present can range in severity, resulting in different levels of associated pain and disability. However, common symptoms include:
Presence of a consistently dull ache around the kneecap
Difficulty walking, climibing, and/or kneeling
Difficulty in flexing the knee joint (extending and/or bending)
As these symptoms are also characteristic of other, more complex injury types,Dr. Haar will utilize a comprehensive examination process when seeking to diagnose a case of Runner's Knee.
Causes And Prevention
The development of Runner's Knee has been associated with a number of potential causes, including:
Partial or complete knee dislocation
Injury or infection
Exhaustion / overuse
While anyone is at risk of developing Runner's Knee, athletes are especially susceptible, as joint overuse and repetitive stress are both contributing factors. In addition, inadequate stretching either before or after physical activity can increase the likelihood and severity of Runner's Knee symptoms.
To avoid this condition, it is important to emphasize general physical conditioning and health during the pursuit of fitness activities. Overarching body strength and endurance will help prevent undue pressure being placed on the knee, which provides support for total balance and mobility during the majority of full-body movements.
Other recommendations for the avoidance of Runner's Knee include taking a gradual approach to increasing workout or training intensity. In addition, ensuring the use of proper running shoes and stride form are also key to protecting the knee joints.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Dr. Haar will employ a comprehensive approach to the identification and diagnosis of Runner's Knee
In addition to documenting the patient's medical and symptom histories, the knee will be examined in regard to:
General leg alignment
Rotation and range of motion
Flexation (bending and extending)
Based on response to these basic physical tests, additional insight into connective tissue health may be sought before determining the best treatment approach. Imaging tests, such as an x-ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT (computed tomography) scan, may also be employed.
Upon the initial diagnosis of Runner's Knee, Dr. Haar will likely recommend a non-surgical approach to treatment. In addition to employing an exercise program for the development of strength and flexibility, bracing and/or other orthotic solutions (such as shoe inserts) may be suggested for the relief of associated pain and irritation.
If the desired level of relief is not achieved through these non-invasive techniques, surgical intervention may be prescribed. While arthroscopy is often employed for the removal of damaged cartilage, a more comprehensive realignment operation may be needed to reduce detrimental pressure on the kneecap and its supporting structures.
While the risks associated with Runner's Knee treatment are minimal, it is important to adhere to Dr. Haar's recommended recovery regimen, reporting any symptoms of concern to the orthopaedic team immediately.
Meniscus Tear Treatment In NYC
Dr. Haar is nationally recognized for his expertise in the treatment of knee injuries through the use of non-invasive and minimally invasive techniques. To schedule an appointment, contact his New York City office at (212) 876-7000.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Runner's knee, also known as iliotibial band syndrome, is one of the most common injuries among athletes. This condition makes the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap (also known as patella) deteriorate and causes stabbing pain around the knee surface when the heel touches the ground, which in acute phases, makes running impossible.
Runner's knee is basically a tendonitis of the iliotibial band, which is part of the tensor fascia lata muscle. Hence, to know the reason why the runner’s knee occurs, first we have to talk about the iliotibial band. This is a thick band made of fibrous tissues (fascia) that extends from the hip (iliac crest in the pelvis), down the outer thigh and intersects the knee to connect to the top part of the tibia or shinbone.
The repetitive friction of the iliotibial band with the lateral epicondyle of the femur causes runner’s knee. This friction can be caused by any of the following reasons:
Trauma to kneecap
Weak thigh muscles
Extra or improper stretching of the muscles before exercise
Dislocation or misalignment of the kneecap
Thickened and inflamed lining of the joint also known as plica syndrome
Tight Achilles tendons
Overuse or hypermobility
Use of inappropriate footwear.
Muscle imbalances due to poor body posture.
Lower limb dysmetria (having one leg shorter than the other).
Your doctor can diagnose the runner's knee by doing some physical exam and checking your health history. For in-depth evaluation of the problem, X-rays may be needed.
The first step in treating a runner's knee is treating the inflammation. This can be done with different means like application of ice, anti-inflammatory and analgesic medication, physical therapy and osteopathy (electrotherapy, bandages, massages and stretching), or infiltration of corticosteroids.
Once the inflammation is treated, you must treat the cause of the injury. The best way to treat it is by visiting a specialist. The expert will be able to accurately diagnose the problem and will know the origin of the pain. During your treatment it is essential to completely stop physical activity, especially running or cycling. Otherwise, you run the risk of making the injury worse until the cause of the problem is corrected
Dr. Haar specializes in runner’s knee treatment and works with patients to identify the pain triggers, and diagnose the exact cause of the condition. At Haar Orthopedics, patient’s medical and symptomatic histories are recorded for better personalized treatment. Additionally the patient’s knee will be examined for:
Range of motion
Proper leg alignment
Flexion and extension of the knee
Strength and stability
Based on the above mentioned physical tests, additional tests to determine the best suitable treatment approach are conducted. These tests include an x-ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT (computed tomography) scan, as and when required.
After initial diagnosis, the right treatment approach for your condition, whether surgical or non-surgical, will be recommended. Surgical or invasive techniques will be only suggested for those patients, who could not achieve the desired level of relief with the non-invasive techniques.
Although risks connected to the runner’s knee treatment are quite minimal, it is critical to cohere to Dr. Haar's recommended recovery regimen. If you see any symptoms or concerns, immediately report it to the orthopedic team.