How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?

How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?

Persistent knee pain can be due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, also known as runner’s knee. It is vital to distinguish it from general knee pain to get the right treatment and combat patellofemoral pain syndrome. Patellofemoral pain occurs in the front of knee joint. A study performed in 2016 revealed that patellofemoral pain is fairly common and accounts for 25% of all knee-related injuries. It mostly affects athletes, runners, cyclists, hikers and those who overexert pressure on their knee during daily activities.

What are the symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?

The most common symptom of Patellofemoral pain is a dull, aching pain at the front part of the knee. The knee pain develops gradually, and it’s often aggravated when pressure is put on the knee joint during daily activities. If you suffer from runner’s knee, you might experience-

  1. Pain and discomfort from activities that require bending the knee in quick succession, for example climbing stairs, running, jumping or squatting.
  2. Pain while sitting in a position where you knees are bent for an extended period of time, for example driving a car, or sitting at your office desk.
  3. Pain while exercising or running on an uneven terrain.
  4. Popping sound in your knees, especially when you stand up suddenly after sitting for a while or begin to climb the stair.

What are the causes of Patellofemoral Pain?

Exact causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome are still unknown. Runner’s knee is believed to be an overuse injury. It is frequently caused by repeated stress on the knee. The stress affects the cartilage under the kneecap which causes pain. Other factors that may cause patellofemoral pain are:

  1. Change in exercise/workout frequency, intensity and techniques
  2. High intensity activities for longer than normal period of time
  3. Improper use or faulty in exercise equipment and accessories
  4. Change in footwear or activity surface
  5. Sudden weight gain

How to get pain relief from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?

People suffering from Patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee can follow below treatment techniques to find natural pain relief at home.

1. Apply Heat and Cold Therapy

Cold therapy or cryotherapy works by application of low temperature to the point of pain to get quick pain relief. Apply cold therapy to get relief from Patellofemoral pain, swelling and inflammation. Ice packs, cold therapy systems or topical analgesics such as Biofreeze can be used to provide cold therapy. Cold therapy by topical analgesics is especially beneficial for athletes and active people since it can be applied on the go. Hot/heat therapy can also be used for pain relief from Patellofemoral pain relief. Heat therapy works by relaxing tight leg muscles surrounding the knee. However use heat therapy only if there is no swelling.

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2. Apply Sports Tape or Kinesiology Tape

Professional athletes often wear kinesiology tape around their body. The kinesiology tape is a stretchy, cotton fiber tape that helps support joints and muscles. Kinesiology tape proves affective to reduce Patellofemoral pain and discomfort. Researchers believe kinesiology tape provide pain relief through pain gate control theory. It basically blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain. 

How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)? How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?
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3. Use Knee Braces and Straps

Patellofemoral Knee Brace function in flexion. It is exactly the spot where most of the pain occurs. The knee braces for runner’s knee are specifically designed for people who undergo recurrent patella subluxations and dislocations. Knee strap are known to provide relief from acute or chronic pain commonly associated with patellofemoral syndrome. They stabilize the knee joint by applying pressure on the patellar tendon below the kneecap. The compression therapy increases mobility and reduces pain and inflammation.

How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)? How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?
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4. Try Yoga and Stretching

A home exercise routine consisting of yoga and stretching exercises can resolve and prevent Patellofemoral pain. You can try affordable, portable and extremely versatile stretching bands that you can carry anywhere. Stabilizing muscles of the hip can reduces knee pain and significantly decrease risk of knee injury. You can perform yoga or do mini-squats, terminal knee extension, hip flexion, hip extension and hip abduction exercises to get relief from knee pain due to Patellofemoral pain syndrome.

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5. Buy Foam Rollers and Massagers

Self massage by foam rollers improves elasticity of knee joints and connective tissues. Foam roller provide relief Patellofemoral pain by boosting blood circulation which helps reduce pain and provide instant relief from sore muscles. Foam roller massage can reduce joint stiffness and soreness by upto 20 to 40%. Topical pain relievers such as Biofreeze can be used in conjunction to massage therapy.

How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)? How to treat Knee Pain due to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)?
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An alignment issue with patella (knee cap) usually requires the assessment of a healthcare professional. Seek medical help immediately if you have difficulty performing routine tasks, limited range of motion and numbness around knee joint.


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