Do you experience discomfort, pain or irritation in your knee when running?
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) also known as “runners knee” is one of the most common overuse injuries in athletes and runners. Research findings suggest that PFPS accounts for approximately 25% of all running injuries and is more than twice as common in females than males.
What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runners Knee)?
Put simply Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is an overuse injury of the knee. Although PFPS is sometimes known as runners knee due to the high incidence within the running population, it can occur in anyone. PFPS is most commonly experienced as a generalised pain around the front of the knee or behind the kneecap, it is felt most when exercising, sitting or when the knee is in a bent position. Pain often increases when climbing stairs, walking/running uphill, squatting or standing up from a sitting position.
Factors that lead to PFPS include
-The mechanics of your knee, or the way it moves when you are running or walking
-Instability or inefficiency within the feet placing extra pressure on the knee
-Your running technique or gait
-Reduced strength in the muscles above and below your knee
-Overtraining or training load errors
How your podiatrist can help you?
Best management for PFPS requires what we call a “top down and bottom up approach”. This means it is best to look not only at the knee but also higher in the body (core, glutes, hips and thigh) as well as treating below the knee at the foot and ankle. Podiatrists are experts in the foot and ankle. We love working in combination with other health professionals like physiotherapists and osteopaths to achieve awesome results for our clients.
3 key ways your podiatrist can help with knee pain that often get missed are:
Certain footwear features such as higher heel heights can increase the pressure on your knees. Running footwear that is worn out or inappropriate for your running style also has a negative affect. Your podiatrist can assess the way you walk/run and recommend specific footwear options to reduce the pressure at your knee both day to day and whilst you are exercising.
Running Technique (gait) Retraining
As with footwear there are features of your running style (gait) that can increase the pressure on your knee joint. We look for features like turning inwards of the knees or feet, and over-striding which is when you land on your heel with your foot out in front of your body as you are runningYour podiatrist can look at making subtle changes to your running technique like increasing your cadence (step rate) for example. This significantly reduces the force transferred through the knee and can allow the discomfort to settle.It is recommended not to make significant changes to your running technique without the direction of a health professional as changing too much too soon can aggravate other areas of the body.
Orthotics are shoe inserts that are used to address instabilities and inefficiencies within your feet. When your feet are more stable and work better it reduces some of the workload on the knee. As part of an overall management plan we get great results using orthotics to keep people suffering from knee pain active healthy and happy.
If you experience knee pain when running or have any questions, please feel free to contact us or book online – we would love to help.