If Knee Pain Is More Sharp Frequent Or Intense Or If It Leads To A Feeling Of Instability Catching Or Buckling It May Be A More Urgent Issue
Structural problems such as ligament or meniscus tears are usually another story. These injuries, by definition, suggest damage to one of the stabilizing structures in the knee joint. Symptoms of instability, swelling, limited range of motion, and higher levels of pain are more common with these injuries and are all signs that you should have your knee examined by a professional before returning to running.
The Long Term View: Is Running Good For Your Knees
Running is GOOD for your knees because it strengthens them.
As Williams puts it: Running helps to build cartilage. Being sedentary gives one a higher chance of developing arthritis in the knees than running recreationally.
Consider this study which examined knee arthritis in three groups: recreational runners, non-runners, and competitive runners. The incidence of knee arthritis in the three groups were as follows:
- Recreational Runners 3.5%
- Non-Runners 10.2%
- Elite/Competitive Runners 13.3%
This large systematic review shows that running, up to a certain point, can actually help prevent arthritis of the knees, Dr. Jordan Duncan explains. One reason is that the cartilage in the knees of a runner is likely thicker and stronger than that of a sedentary individual, because it has adapted to the mechanical stress of running. As long as, the demand does not exceed the bodys ability to repair itself, remodeling will occur.
Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, an orthopedic surgeon, points to two other studies that show running is beneficial to the knees. In one study that followed runners and non-runners for almost 20 years, X-rays showed signs of arthritis in the knees of 20 percent of the runners, but 32 percent of the non-runners.
A recent study actually found that veteran American marathoners had only half as much arthritis as non-runners.
Therefore, it is a fallacy that running increases your risk of osteoarthritis in your knees, says Dr. Okubadejo.
Is The Pain Sharp
If so, you should determine the sort of sharp pain. If its cramp, rest for a couple of minutes whilst massaging the area and have a sports drink that contains electrolytes. If its more of a sudden tightness, in the calf for example, stretch the muscle and massage the area. Continuing to run without taking action just makes a tear more likely. If the pain means you cant run without limping, its usually a sign youve torn the muscle. Stop, walk home and apply the RICE treatment.
How To Avoid Knee Pain From Running
- How to Prevent Knee Pain from Running
Theres a reason why knee pain is often referred to as Runners Knee. Current statistics report that 30 50% of all runners get knee pain from running every year. Thats a pretty high number, and its one of the biggest reasons why running gets labeled as a high-injury sport.
I have my own take on running and its a little different. Its that running is blamed for knee pain when its not actuality running that causes problems. Its the way people run that leads to pain and injury. The truth is, if you can learn to run with proper running form, where there is minimal impact or undue stress to your knees, youll never have knee problems. Its a surprisingly simple fix, and entirely possible, contrary to what many people believe.
Here are some ways to improve your running technique, avoid knee pain, and insure that you can run for many more years without ever having to give it all up someday because your knees are toast.
Avoid heel striking
Dont over-stride and let your feet get ahead of you. Always make it a point to NEVER step past your knees, and learn to let your legs swing rearward, not forward. When your feet land in front of your knees, you putting on the brakes with every foot strike, sending a major impact to your knees, which were never designed to be shock absorbers.
Dont lift your knees when you run
Lean your entire body forward
Keep your knees soft and bent
Keep your feet aimed in the direction you are running
Causes Of Knee Pain During A Run
Knee pain while running is usually caused by a well-known problem among runners: the well-named Runners Knee. It mainly results from:
- Training too hard
- Weak muscles
- Insufficient stretching
Beginners in particular increase the extent of their training too quickly. They dont take enough time to rest, and then complain about knee pain during running because of excessive strain.
Strengthen Your Knees To Avoid Or Lessen Pain
If youre experiencing pain behind your knees while running, it doesnt mean youre destined to stop exercising. There are many simple things you can do every day to reduce or completely avoid the pain. Here are six strategies to start with:
Knee pain can be an uncomfortable and disheartening effect of an exercise routine. However, working with a certified health coach or your physician can help you identify the source of pain before it becomes a bigger issue and take the right steps to ease or avoid the pain in the future.
Pain Itself Is The Problem
Many theories about the nature of the damage underlying the pain of PFPS have come and gone. The reason behind this revolving door of proposed etiologies is that, unlike other injuries such as knee meniscus damage, there is often no obvious structural abnormality associated with PFPS, whether the joint is examined by X-ray, MRI, or surgical arthroscope. Within the past 15 years, this reality has lead orthopedists to a revised view of PFPS in which pain itself is regarded as the essence of the injury. This, in turn, has led to a new approach to treatment that focuses on symptom management rather than healing.
In the past , if you were diagnosed with PFPS as a runner you would be advised to stop running. Today, however, experts like Greg Lehman, an Ontario-based physiotherapist, advise runners with overuse injuries including PFPS to do as much running as they can within an acceptable pain range.
To get back to 100% of running you need to start with something less than 100%, he writes on his website. As a runner, you dont just want to be free of pain; you want to be able to do the training necessary to achieve your goals without pain. Theres a big difference. Sure, rest may fix your pain, but only through running can you develop the tissue durability required to handle intensive training.
Can I Train Through Runners Knee
Even though I said before that running on PFPS is a bad idea, it likely wont make the pain worse .
You wont destroy your kneecap by running through the dull ache that accompanies PFPS. You probably wont wear away the cartilage underneath your patella. Youll be forced to stop by more severe pain before you do anything truly destructive.
But there are risks. Youll prolong your recovery and you could set yourself up for more severe problems in the future. Carefully weigh these risks with your love of running.
If You Can Rate Your Pain Under A 4 Out Of 10 Running On It Might Be Ok
That said, any small amount of pain is a signal to your body that there is likely a vulnerability, like a weakness elsewhere contributing to poor body mechanics. Weakness and tightness, thankfully, can be addressed with the right strengthening and stretching routine. If you dont address your symptoms, though, a relatively small pain from something like runners knee can lead to a more problematic, acute injury like a ligament tear. So, if you decide to run through the pain of something relatively minor like runners knee, make sure youre also addressing the cause of the problem.
And if your knee pain ever intensifies to the point where its difficult to perform daily activities, like walking or going up and down stairs, then running on it is not a good idea. Running forces you to load each leg one at a time with your full body weight, plus the force of gravity. Anything you feel while walking will be exaggerated and intensified with running, making your knee, along with the rest of your body, more vulnerable to injury.
Whats The Best Way To Treat Bursitis For Runners
When dealing with greater trochanteric, retrocalcaneal, or pes anserine bursitis, the location of the injury makes a big difference when it comes to the optimal treatment.
Though there is an aggravated bursa involved in the injury process of all three, the underlying causes and nearby tissue necessitate a unique approach to each.
What exercises should you do if you have hip pain?
Greater trochanteric bursitis should be treated by stretching and strengthening the hip and low back muscles, with an injection of a local anesthetic or corticosteroid if the pain does not abate after conservative treatment.
You should also be aware of other injuries that can contribute to or coexist with greater trochanteric bursitis, like IT band syndrome and gluteal muscle tendonitis.
In the case of retrocalcaneal bursitis, a corticosteroid injection could have harmful effects, given the proximity of the Achilles tendon: the risk of a rupture is well-documented in the literature.
Iontophoresis of a corticosteroid is a possible alternative, but the mainstay of treatment should be the flat eccentric heel drop protocol devised by Jonsson et al.
Three sets of 15 eccentric heel drops on flat ground twice daily, adding weight once the exercise is pain-free.
Try to avoid shoes that aggravate your retrocalcaneal bursa, like high heels and anything with a stiff, rigid heel counter.
Pes anserinus bursitis appears to be the rarest and least-well-understood of the three common bursa injuries in runners.
Q: Do Knee Braces Really Offer Runners Knee Support
Back in the 1970s, Nicolas and Castiglia developed a knee brace for the football player from Joe Namath. Soon after, they became popular accessories for NFL players and other athletes, who scrambled for their own knee braces, believing that theyd provide them with immense performance benefits.
But that popularity has since waned in light of increasing evidence calling into question their actual effectiveness.
The thing is that even the evidence is contradicted by other evidence that argues that prophylactic knee braces do in fact aid in reducing certain injuries having to do with the Medial Collateral Ligament . There are also many subjective reports emphasizing the benefits of prophylactic knee braces at the same time, there are plenty of subjective reports claiming the opposite.
The truth is that overwhelming evidence points to the fact that prophylactic knee braces are just not worth the money.
Because while they do actually offer substantial protection to the MCL against valgus stresses, they also limit performance. If you opt for a knee brace for running, youll likely end up sacrificing speed and performance. Youre also susceptible to overconfidence that could lead to the very injury you thought you were immune from.
Thats food for thought.
Initial Reduction Of Patellar Tendon Loading
The first stage in treating patellar tendonitis is to take some load off the patellar tendon, in order to allow the pain levels to reduce.
We achieve this reduction in load by working out what activities are causing pain and adjusting the activity, or activities, to decrease the amount of load that the tendon is experiencing.
Common exercises and positions that load the patellar tendon include:
- Sitting with legs bent for a long time
- Going up and down stairs
- Wearing high heels
- Running in shoes with a large heel-to-toe drop
You dont always have to completely stop these activities. Instead, learning to modify the activity or training load is the key to successful treatment.
Here are some suggestions for how you can modify activities that aggravate your patellar tendon
Warm Up And Cool Down
It’s essential to warm up properly before you start running. Five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or gentle jogging before you start will warm your muscles up and help prevent injury.
To cool down, carry on running at an easier pace or walk for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help your body recover after your run.
See Tips for new runners for more information about warming up and cooling down, as well as running technique.
How To Make Bursitis Pain Go Away For Good
Many of the injuries that hamper runners are the result of small, seemingly insignificant bits of tissue becoming aggravated.
This is certainly the case with bursitis, an injury that can affect a number of different locations in the runners lower body.
As much as we convince ourselves that we are being smart with our training, most of the time, we know deep in our hearts that this hip pain, knee pain, or heel pain while running is something that we cannot just ignore.
A bursa is a small, fluid-filled, sac-like structure that serves to lubricate the motion of tendons and joints during activity.
As is the case with any biological structure, when subjected to excessive stress, a bursa can become aggravated.
Today we are going to look at the three types of bursitis; hip, knee, and heel. We will describe the symptoms of bursitis in your foot, knee, and hip, and give you the best way to treat bursitis from running. Realistically, all we want to know about is can I continue to run with bursitis? The treatment for bursitis as well as the recovery time will vary depending on whether it is hip, knee, or heel bursitis, but lets see how specific we can make it for you.
Get A Running Assessment
A running assessment can help you identify some foot-strike problems, foot and ankle mobility, hip movement, muscle imbalances, and more. You can get running assessments from physical therapists, running specialists, and kinesiologists. I have had 2 assessments done and they have been super helpful in helping identify problems in form that contribute to tendinitis and injury.
Just Chilling How To Fight Acute Knee Pain
If you get knee pain, its time to take a break from being active. Locate the pain and cool the surrounding tissue with ice several times per day. To make sure the tissue isnt damaged by the cold, wrap a towel around the ice. If possible, elevate your knee and reduce strain as much as you can. If the pain does not subside, go see a physician.
Exercises stretching and strength training: During a run, all the leg muscles up to your buttocks are active. For improved performance and better protection against injuries, the muscles at the front and back of the thighs also need to be trained. One leg is usually stronger than the other. You should therefore do strengthening exercises, such as squats, on one leg and change sides. Otherwise, the stronger leg will work harder and the muscular imbalance will remain.
To prevent injuries, stretching is just as important because stiff calf and thigh muscles apply pressure to the knee and can cause pain.
Moderate Pain: 4 To 6
This type of pain appears as you start exercising, but stays at a tolerable intensity throughout your run. It rarely passes your pain threshold and it doesn’t cause you to limp or alter your running stride.
While it’s okay to finish your run with this level of pain, it’s best to listen to your body. What’s tolerable for one person can be intolerable for another. If you are participating in a run you signed up for and have been training to compete in, you might want to finish. But if it is just a normal training session, it may be wise to stop so your pain doesn’t get worse.
Resting and rehabbing this type of pain should take priority if you’re experiencing pain after running, at rest, with daily activities such as walking, and/or it is affecting your sleep. Take a few days off from running and apply P.O.L.I.C.E. treatment, allowing your body to heal.
Is The Pain A Dull Ache Under The Kneecap
If so, its probably runners knee . Try running in the same direction, on the opposite side of the road ; move onto a softer surface; or stride out for a while to free up the knee joint. You can also try changing your shoes. If the pain persists, book an appointment with a physiotherapist, because it will only get worse.
Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Caused By Degenerated Cartilage
Unlikely! The cartilage underneath the patella and on the femur doesnt have any nerves so its not what is causing you pain. Its relatively inert.
What actually hurts is probably the synovial lining, a fancy word for the soft tissue and fluid that surrounds your knee joint. It acts as lubrication between the moving parts of your knee. Its capable of irritation which is why its the specific part of your anatomy that hurts.
Can I Run With Knee Arthritis
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and pain, and it can affect virtually every joint. There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Joint stress or overuse
A knee arthritis diagnosis is tough for anyone, but if you previously enjoyed an active lifestyle that depended on having healthy knees, it can be especially devastating. Knee pain may tempt you to forget about doing any exercise at all, but a sedentary lifestyle will do you more harm than good.
The truth is, exercise can help arthritic joints feel better.
Running in particular may reduce your chances of needing surgery down the line. Better still, running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise out there; all you need is yourself, a good pair of running shoes, and someplace to run.
For most people, running with knee arthritis is safe. However, use common sense, talk to your doctor first, and pay attention to your body. If running worsens your pain, stop and take a break before you try again. Work with your doctor to create an exercise regimen that works for you.
Know too that any type of activity is great. It doesnt need to be running. Walking briskly or swimming may be a better option for your body.
Symptoms Of Knee Bursitis
- Depending on which bursa is inflamed, you will have pain at the site of the bursa. So this might be a couple of inches below the joint on the inside of the knee or perhaps around or under your knee cap or behind the knee .
- Pain on pressing the inflamed bursa site.
- There is often swelling and redness of the knee.
- Your knee may feel tight due to the swelling.
- Your knee feels painful on movement, particularly when bending it or going up or down stairs.
Tips To Help You Achieve Success With A Walking Program
People newly diagnosed with a knee condition should first have an assessment and initial treatment done by a physiotherapist. Start with bike riding and swimming before beginning a walking program. Once you are ready to begin a walking and weight training program, hire an advanced personal trainer with experience and knowledge about rehabilitation. The goal with working out is to strengthen your knee and prolong the need for a knee replacement. The sooner you can develop muscle and strengthen the connective tissue, the more successful a knee replacement will be later on!
Good Luck and Happy Training
Cathie Glennon BCRPA/SFL, Rehabilitation Specialist,Pharm.Tech
How Do I Know If I Have Runners Knee
Runners knee is characterized by knee pain after running in a very specific location. Like lateral knee pain being correlated with IT Band Syndrome, theres a particular location for knee pain that makes it highly probable you have runners knee.
If your pain is directly on or along the outside edges of the kneecap, you most likely have PFPS. The pain is typically a dull ache but can occasionally be sharp; it feels like its located deep underneath the patella.
Along with the location of the pain, PFPS sufferers typically have more pain when theyre
- walking up stairs
- after prolonged periods of sitting down
- while pushing on the kneecap
Its important to note that PFPS is different from patellar tendonitis, which is an entirely separate injury characterized by pain in the patellar tendon. This is the thick tendon that connects your patella to your shin. This is a more rare injury, particularly among runners.
Running With Arthritis: Everything You Need To Know
Certain myths seem impossible to shake. One such myth is the idea that running will cause arthritis. Multiple studies have proven this myth false.
But the idea carries on.
Runners diagnosed with arthritis give up their hobby. Non-runners avoid exercise because they think it will inflame their condition. And in some cases theyre right: intense running will cause inflammation in the weight-bearing joints of the lower body.
But, in many cases, running can actually help reduce arthritis symptoms.
Running compresses the cartilage in our weight-bearing joints. These include the knees, spine, hips, ankles, and feet. By compressing the cartilage we circulate our synovial fluid. This is the stuff that brings oxygen to our joints. It also carried out waste products. Synovial fluid is essentially what keeps our joints healthy. People with arthritis have to be more careful about how they cause circulation. But, done correctly, exercise will help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
How To Treat Knee Bursitis From Running
Given the rarity of pes anserinus bursitis and the limited research on athletes, how to treat knee bursitis from running is not clear, nor is the knee bursitis recovery time.
So whats the best way to treat knee bursitis?
It stands to reason that a physical therapy program consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises should help.
A 2010 article by Milton Helfenstein Jr. and Jorge Kuromoto in the Portuguese medical journal Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia recommends treatment with ice packs, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication.
The authors also mention that using a pillow or cushion between your legs while sleeping may take some pressure off the affected area if you sleep on your side.15
As for rehab exercises, Helfenstein and Kuromoto recommend stretching and strengthening the adductors and the quadriceps, particularly in the final 30 degrees of knee extension .
In the admittedly limited scientific literature on treating pes anserinus bursitis, anti-inflammatory injections seem to be the most common treatment.
Helfenstein and Kuromoto write that corticosteroid injections may be used, but caution that they must not be injected into the substance of the pes anserinus tendons themselvespresumably because of the well-known risk of rupture.
As a last resort, surgery to drain or excise the bursa is also an option.
You might be wondering, can I continue to run with knee bursitis?
Better to rest up now, than take longer later.
What Should I Do About Runner’s Knee
To help knee pain at home, Andy recommends applying ice to the knee and stretching.
Hold ice on the painful area for around 20 minutes a few times a day. Never put ice directly on your skin.
To stretch the area, Andy recommends lying on your side with your bad leg on top.
Bend your top leg so your foot goes back towards your bottom, then hold it there with your hand and keep both knees touching.
Hold the stretch for at least 45 seconds, breathing deeply and feeling the stretch in the thigh. Repeat this around 6 times a day.
If the pain’s severe or the knee’s swollen, see a GP straight away.
If your knee pain is not severe, stop running and get it checked by a GP or physiotherapist if the pain does not go away after a week.
They can also recommend stretches or exercises to help you recover.