Runners knee” is a catch-all phrase for a variety of conditions which cause overload to the knee. Thorough assessment is required to identify the cause for each individual. Just treating the symptoms (knee pain) will not produce a lasting solution. The case study below illustrates one particular cause of “runners knee.
Christine, a teacher in her late twenties, has been running to keep her weight down for about a year. She recently increased her running in preparation for a 10km event but soon developed pain at the front of her left knee which initially came on towards the end of a run. Eventually she was getting pain almost immediately on running. She rested for a week but the pain returned within a few minutes when she resumed running. Christine came to Stranmillis Physiotherapy a few weeks before the 10km race so time was limited for recovery. On assessment Christine had very mobile hips, knees and ankles, which often cause these joints to absorb more load than they should. Her kneecaps had become the most overloaded and over time this had led to pain.Treatment was focused on pain relief using LASER and supportive taping to offload the kneecaps and allow for healing. A core control programme was started involving deep abdominals and gluteals [gluts]. With the short time frame available Christine was advised not to do the 10km run and to focus on her control programme. She took this advice and was able to complete a 5km run 2 months later. She is working towards completing a 10km run and continues with a simple “maintenance” programme for her core muscles.