Knee Pain - Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

What is runner’s knee?

This mostly occurs when there is undue friction between the knee-cap (patella) and the knee joint. The thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) form the knee joint. The thigh bone has a little groove that the knee-cap slides up and down in as the leg bends and straightens. Various factors can change the way the knee-cap moves in that groove, causing the friction. These factors include:

- Muscle imbalances around the knee joint

- Abnormal anatomy

- Wearing the incorrect shoes

- Improper training techniques

What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

You can either have a persistent, dull ache under the patella or a sharp, stabbing pain while walking or running. It is also often called movie goer’s knee, as straightening the knees after a period of sitting can be very uncomfortable. Rest often relieves the symptoms.

How can physiotherapy help? 

Your therapist will start with a full postural analysis, gait (walking pattern) analysis and assessment of muscle sequencing. He/she will exclude other possibilities that might cause knee pain, such as ligament damage, arthritis, shin, thigh and hip injuries etc. Treatment will then most likely consist of a combination of the following:

- Pain management and reduction of inflammation

- Mobilisation of the knee joint and patella

- Soft tissue mobilisation around the knee joint

- Strapping in order to correct the patella position and tracking

- Exercise program focussed on establishing muscle balance and good muscle sequencing