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Treatment of Knee Pain with Running in Rochester

Are you looking for treatment of knee pain with running in Rochester? 

Read this first.  Does this sound familiar?

As spring approaches and runners head outside and build up miles, some aches and pains are common. Also, simply increasing miles and speed rapidly in anticipation of race season can cause breakdowns in our muscles and tendons. Transitioning from treadmill to pavement can be an adjustment for the body as well.

One of the most common injuries early in the season is patellofemoral pain (PFP) a fancy way to say pain at the front of your knee. Although PFP presents its ugly self in and around the kneecap, often times the knee is not the cause of the pain. It certainly can be the muscles around the knee joint that can lead to knee pain; tight hamstrings, IT bands, and weak quadriceps muscles. However in my experience with runners, one of the most frequent culprits is weakness of the hip muscles.   The glute muscles including the gluteus maximus and medius are extremely important in running. They work as a team with the quadriceps to help push the body forward off of one leg during running while keeping the knee and pelvis aligned and stable.   If the glutes are weak, this puts an extra load on the quad and the knee joint and frequently leads to PFP. Technically speaking, the pain is typically found either in the quadriceps tendon just above the knee cap, or just below in the patellar tendon. See the figure below.

Fortunately if this injury is caught early and proper strength training is started, then a complete shutdown of training can be avoided. If you’re suffering from PFP right now, here are some helpful tips.

  • For the short term, cut your miles in half to allow greater healing time while strengthening your hips. Then build up gradually.
  • Ice massage the directly over the painful area after your runs or workouts for 5-8 minutes. This will help decrease pain and inflammation around the kneecap (patella).
  • Make sure your shoes aren’t too old. Shoes need to be changed around 400 miles because of loss of cushioning. The foam in your shoes also loses its cushioning over time (about 1 year) without using them a lot. So those but-they-still-look-good sneakers that have been used lightly for five years may need to be retired despite their low mileage.
  • Finally, of course STRENGTHEN those hip muscles. I’ll describe two of them below to get you started.

Hip strengthening #1: Bridging. Lay on your back with your knees bend. Lift the buttocks by pushing your heels into to the floor. Do 2-3 sets of 10. Tip: if you get a hamstring cramp – stop, you’re done for today. Next time pull your heels closer to your buttocks and try again.

Hip strengthening #2: Single leg balance. Stand on one leg. With the free leg reach and tap a spot on the floor in front of you, come back and reach to the back. Make sure your knee does not drop in – this ensures that your hip muscles are “turned on.” Do 2 sets of 10 on each side.

Give it a try! If you have any questions about patellofemoral pain (PFP) or other injuries don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help keep you on the road, get back on the road, run further and faster without pain!

Lucas Martin, MSPT, OCS, Running Specialist

Willem Verweij Physical Therapy

lucas@wvphysicaltherapy.com

603-335-4704

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