Knee Pain and Running

If you have been suffering from pain in the front of your knee while running, you may be suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee. Multiple factors including muscle weakness, tightness, and imbalances can contribute to increased stress on the knee cap and the structures underneath it. Patellofemoral symptoms increase the more that you run. The best way to decrease symptoms is to get a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist to determine the most appropriate exercises for you.  Listed below are several strengthening exercises that target the muscles in your hip and knee that are commonly provided to patients with knee pain.

Straight Leg Raise– Squeeze your quads in the front of your thigh to straighten your knee and lift your leg to the level of your opposite thigh.Clams– While on your side with your knees bent, lift your knee up. Do not let your hips roll forwards or  backwards.

Side-lying Hip Abduction– While on your side, squeeze your quads to straighten your knee. Lift your leg up without letting your hips roll forwards or backwards.

Bridges– While on your back, lift your hips up to the ceiling while squeezing your core and glutes.

If your symptoms still persist after performing these exercises, please call Harbor Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.

 

By: Dr. David Reymann- Staff Physical Therapy at Harbor Physical Therapy

 

What is Knee Valgus?

Knee valgus is characterized by your knee collapsing inward when your hip flexes. You may also notice that the opposite side of your pelvis may collapse downward. This is seen most often in squats, lunges, jumps, landing, and descending steps. Women are more susceptible to knee valgus because women have a wider hip angle compared to men. Knee Valgus can lead to patellofemoral knee pain, ACL tears, and IT band syndrome.

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Listed below are causes of Knee Valgus:
1. Weak gluteal muscles allows for over compensation of inner thigh muscles pulling the knee inwards.
2. Restricted ankle mobility does not allow for knee to progress forwards over the toe.
3. Inadequate quad strength (specifically vastus medialis function) effects knee stability and can cause the patella to track improperly.
4. Weak hamstrings may similarly allow the knee to cave in.
5. Improper motor planning of movement and poor execution of movement.

A physical therapist can help address the causes of knee valgus and provide exercises to minimize the symptoms and effects. This can be done through strengthening, stretching, and proper training of movement execution.

ITB Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is pain at the outer part of the knee, thigh or hip. It is usually caused by overuse and it is often seen in runners. Other causes may be from excessive pronation of the foot, tight buttock muscles, poor running form, bowed legs or a leg length discrepancy. If you have pain at the outer part of your leg and it continues with daily activities and running, you need to consult a physical therapist.