“Runner’s knee,” also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, refers to a variety of knee injuries relating to overuse. This problem is common in those who run on a regular basis, whether professionally or recreationally. It also affects gymnasts, cyclists and other athletes or active individuals who place excessive stress on their knees. In fact, runner’s knee is the most frequently occurring of all running injuries, affecting nearly 25% of runners each year.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things that you can do to avoid it:
Wear appropriate running shoes – Many recreational runners assume that any type of footwear referred to as “sneakers” is automatically appropriate for all forms of exercise. This assumption could actually be the first step on a downhill slope to a serious knee injury. The ideal running shoe is lightweight and flexible, with excellent shock absorption to protect your foot and entire leg while running.
Make reasonable changes to your workout – Abruptly intensifying the pace and distance of your runs can also lead to injury. We recommend increasing the intensity by no more than 15% each week, as that offers sufficient time for your body to adjust.
Avoid excessive strain – Studies show that beginner runners are most susceptible to runner’s knee in the first 6 months of running. The simplest solution is paying close attention to every aspect of your training, including stretching adequately before a run and giving yourself sufficient recovery time between runs.
Maintain a healthy weight – Performing strenuous activities like running while carrying excessive weight can place significant strain on your knees. This, in turn, could result in ligament tears, joint fractures and other serious injuries.
If you love to run, do not let the fear of runner’s knee stop you! The key to successful running is realizing that the activity comes with risks, and thus taking the necessary precautions. One important precaution you can take is to see an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialistwho can evaluate your knee health and other musculoskeletal attributes and provide professional recommendations about your individual situation.
You can find an entire team of physicians skilled at diagnosing and treating injuries at Coastal Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Bradenton, FL. Please feel free to call or email us today!