Most knee injuries in runners are the result of overuse or wear and tear. They can have you out of the game for weeks if you don’t treat the injury quickly and properly.
Whether you are training for a marathon, play sports, or just run for fun, running can take a toll on your knees. In fact, Dr. Jon Schriner, a faculty member at Michigan State University, states that for every pound of weight a person carries, they have four pounds on the knee when running.
Here are the top 3 knee injuries caused by running and how you can treat them at home:
Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is the most common overuse injury from running. Runner’s knee occurs when the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap) becomes irritated and inflamed. This causes pain while running, squatting, bending, or even sitting for prolonged periods.
When the pain is mild to moderate around the kneecap, there are numerous at-home treatment options one can resort to. These include:
- Take a break from running
- The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
- Continue to stay active with low-impact activities
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome is another common overuse injury that affects as many as 12% of runners. The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a ligament that begins at the hip and extends along the outside of the thigh. This band attaches to the top of the tibia (shinbone) to help stabilize the knee and hip while running or walking, but when the IT band thickens and rubs over the bone, it can become inflamed or irritated.
Iliotibial band syndrome usually causes a sharp or stinging sensation on the lateral side of the knee. Some may even experience a snapping or popping sound at the knee.
As for most running injuries, it is crucial to stop running and let your body rest. Other at-home treatment options can include:
- Icing the knee to reduce inflammation and pain
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Foam rolling at the site of pain and inflammation
Jumper’s knee, also called patellar tendonitis, is an overuse injury that causes pain at the front of the knee or the top of the shin. Jumper’s knee occurs when the patellar tendon, a tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia), becomes inflamed. Jumper’s knee is caused by the overuse of the knee joint, such as frequent jumping or running on hard surfaces. Symptoms of jumper’s knee typically include pain and tenderness around your patellar tendon, swelling, or pain when jumping, running, or walking.
The best treatment for jumper’s knee is to stop any activity that causes pain to your kneecap until the injury is healed. Other treatment options include:
- The RICE method
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
Our multi-specialty team at Comprehensive Medical Care can get you back on the track. If you are experiencing knee pain while running or doing any other activities, contact our team today.