Massage for Runner's Knee (PFPS)
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I've had runner's knee off and on for the past year. I saw my Sports Med doctor and he diagnosed me with runner's knee and I received a script for PT. Doing the exercises with the physical therapist wasn't that big of deal but rather learning the proper exercises for home use to strengthen the muscles surrounding my knee as well as my hip and glutes was the most beneficial. In addition, I make sure to foam roll before and after any runs longer than 5 miles (especially my IT band). And I see a massage therapist every other week to work on tight leg muscles.
I do find that sitting with bent legs causes the worst knee pain of all so I make sure to sit with straight legs whenever possible and take walking breaks often. It was often the worst during long drives so I try to trade off driving to reduce the number of hours in a seated position.
All of these have resolved my knee issues.
- Injury Status Cured
Your symptoms sound exactly what I dealt with earlier this year. I stopped running for months. In the meantime, I was stretching every day and getting deep tissue massages, with no relief. I also went to a chiropractor for Active Release Therapy. I finally went to a sports medicine specialist, and he diagnosed it as a muscle imbalance. Basically something was out of whack in my right leg, which was causing the muscles or tendons to pull over the knee, which caused the pain.
Something interesting that you might try is to lay on your side with your non-injured side facing up, and raise your leg as high as you can. Have someone push it down. Chances are you can offer a good bit of resistance. Then try it with your hurt knee leg facing up and have someone push down on it. In my case, I could offer almost no resistance. It was pretty comical to see the difference. I thought the doctor was messing with me and just not pushing hard on my non-injured leg, but I had some other people push as well, and it was legit.
That example was enough for me to believe the doctor and put in the effort with resistance bands. It took a while, but I started showing progress after a week or so. The progress came like this: My knee hurt pretty much all the time after a few sessions with the bands (maybe 20 minutes every day) I got relief from the pain immediately afterwards. The pain would return when I ran, at which point I would stop running for that session. little by little, the pain went away and I eventually stopped the PT sessions, and have been running pain free (~40 miles a week) ever since.
As I said, I waited for a few months before I started the active PT, and in that time I did very little running. This, I believe, was also a mistake. There was something goofy in my leg, and by babying it, I think it continued to deteriorate, which meant I needed more PT.
The doctor encouraged me to start running more immediately, and encouraged me to not baby my leg. He suggested very light workouts at first, stressing that the PT was the biggest part of the recovery.
- Injury Status Cured
As a massage therapist...continued use of muscle causes tightening and shortening so it pulls on joints and hurts when go to move it. Building my muscles...every joint is sore. Relax and stretch all areas in legs....hot baths, Epsom salt soaks, massage, stretching routine a few days a week. Besides better body mechanics...new challenges cause body new pains.not fixing...you get injured. Take rest...overtraining can hurt. Now my knee is fine.
- Injury Status Cured
- Chronicity 0 - 6 Months
Just got over something similar. Pain on the top inside edge of the kneecap - about the size of a dime. At first I thought I'd bruised it and thought I could run through it. To make a long story short, bothered me for almost 3 months. Got so bad I thought it would never heal up. Finally got rid of it by:
Taking time off: 2 weeks no running at all
Massage: quad, hamstring, calf
Went and saw a chiropractor
Started off slow, 2 miles every other day. Finally just went away.
- Injury Status Recovering
- Chronicity 6-18 Months
I developed the same injury 1 year ago from training with too much mileage and stair repeats way too soon. As a runner, it's so simple to do what feels good, but as we age our tendons are not able to keep up with the speedy intensity. I'm a 36 yr old female. I made the mistake of seeing Kaiser's orthopedic doctor. Huge mistake! Three months after the injury (rested the entire time) he injected my knee with cortisone, then did PRP 2 weeks later. Both huge mistakes. Don't do that. If only I had gone to a running chiropractor who performs ART & seen a deep massage therapistright away, then most likely I wouldn't still be trying to heal this thing.
I now see a running doctor (chiro) who has given me assignments to do backwards walking on the treadmil at an incline of 15, speed of 1.3. I do that for 10 minutes with big strides back and lowering my legs a little to build my quads. It no longer hurts so I can bend just fine when doing this. If it hurts, lessen this technique somehow. This has a similar effect as the eccentric exercies that are recommended. I am to also do other Physical therapyto build my core and rear end as he discovered one side was much weaker than the other. He performed ART on me, which I have found some great research on regarding how this can help. It would probably help to get that done very frequently in the early stages. I also get deep tissue massages, which I believe has helped as well.
My advice, try to find a running doctor/chiropractor & masseuse that know this injury. Find him/her ASAP. My tendon is thickened as shown in my MRI and I can visually see this, and it will probably be thickened forever possibly. I no longer feel it, which is great, however I can still feel it slightly when I press on the top and bottom of the tendon. I have not run for over 1 year and had to change my mentality toward running. Since I am better I have been training in the gym on the bike and elliptical (plus treadmil therapy) to build up strength and stability. (FYI, elliptical probably shoudn't be done while it's still this painful - stick with other leg strengthening PT exercises & maybe light bike.) Since my pain is just surface pain now, I am told I should attempt running slowly soon, but I am nervous. Honestly I am not expecting to ever run like I used to, but maybe I'll be able to. I had to change my mentality so that I don't get depressed about it.
- Injury Status Cured
- Chronicity 18+ Months
I know the frustration that comes with this injury/syndrome whatever you want to call it. I was able to run on this injury for about a year before my left knee totally crapped out after the last track race of my season. While I was running it got the point where I felt a sharp pain inside the knee joint when running (but it did not hurt every step just some of them) and pretty much everyday pain and stiffness around the knee.
Once my knee totally crapped out I could not run at all because the sharp pain was there constantly, my knee crunched when fully extending the leg, it popped and felt extremely stiff. I took the whole summer off and tried to run one day on the treadmill and that hurt like hell and leg extensions on a machine caused the most sharp/excruciating pain I ever felt so I could not do those.
So time off didn't help and I spent the next year doing physical therapy, researching the injury, trying supplements, and trying some alternative therapy (prolotherapy) that I never heard of before. From February to August of last year I did 6 rounds of the prolotherapy and in August I was finally able to start running again without any sharp pain in my left knee and I have been running ever since then. During this time I also did physical therapy etc but I believe the prolotherapy was what allowed me to come back. I am no where near the level I once was, but I am running 25 to 30 miles without pain a week as compared to the 50-60 I was doing. I also do a 30-45 min plyometrics workout once or twice a week, do heave squats, deadlifts, RDLs, lunges etc without pain, which was not possible before.
I will tell you that even though I am able to run and I consider myself healed I still struggle with inflammation/stiffness around the knee cap. luckily not under, usually either the patellar or quad tendon. It's not bad but it is noticeable. I notice it more when my diet is crap, traveling, and after runs done up and down hills.
I have noticed that using the Quad Baller from TP therapy to massage my quads is very helpful in reducing it, actually plyometrics helps and having a good diet helps too. when i'm traveling and it is crap inflammation increases noticeably.
- Injury Status Recovering
These are both worth a shot. I have used variations on each. This is a TOUGH injury to heal. But to reiterate:
Ice. There is some evidence it could actually help healing.
Massage: You can do this yourself. Work the area/points with constant pressure for a minute straight. Repeat. Then cross-friction
REST: you need to give it a real break running-wise, and even no rehab exercises at first it is bad. Go in the pool. Swimming and pool-running with limited bends in the knee WILL keep you in great shape and NOT harm your knee.
Cross-train: see above. Walking and easy biking is usually OK
Strengthen Quad. Above. Also, negatives are good: raise leg extension weights (or band), with both legs, lower only with hurt leg. But be careful.