Stretching for Runner's Knee (PFPS)
- Treatment Reviews
- Videos & Guides
- Injury Status Cured
All there's no magic "cure" for injury prone knees. There are a host of things you can do to make life easier.
Wear the correct shoes, you already have orthotics which is a great start.
Have your gait analyzed, again you know you pronate so you can make a conscious effort to adjust your run and gear.
Don't just run. You could have some sort of strength/flexibility imbalance in your feet, ankles, calves, thighs, back etc. Swim, stretch, cycle, do some yoga, pilates. Becoming a good all round athlete promotes healthier running.
Don't run hurt. If your knees are crying in agony, don't "man up" and smash them into the concrete. Running is about making small incremental improvements, no one gets to long mileage without building up properly (or if they do, it's a recipe for injury).
Establish a recovery routine. Ice, compression, elevation, ibuprofen. Even if you're not injured, these can help with post-run fatigue/aches and mean you can do more with quicker recovery between runs.
Run short, run fast. Not everyone is made to plod 23 miles. Try short speed work, intervals, aim for 20 min 5ks, 6 min miles, there are plenty of challenging short distance goals which will challenge your running. What separates beginners to advanced runners is not their mileage but their abilities at the preferred distance. I have no knee pain since.
- Injury Status Cured
I'm 34, 6'0", 185 lbs, and have run six marathons (and a zillion shorter distances). Our body types are probably similar. I worry a little that most runners in my echelon (I'm a 1:27 half / 3:20 full marathoner) have a different body type and less mass than me. Knee problems have always been an issue. But I do a lot of things to try to mitigate it:
Static stretching after each run, like 10 minutes worth. I never ever skip this.
I take glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. They're advertised as helping your cartilage, but their benefits haven't been conclusively proven. I figure at worst they're placebos, at best they're helping my knees stay in the game longer.
Focus on good running form. For a long time (until the past six months) I was running in very heavy shoes that promote heel striking. I switched to entry-level Newtons and my form has gotten noticeably better, which I think has to be better for my body mechanics generally and my knees specifically.
Spent decent time at the gym doing leg/core strengthening (along with upper body/other stuff). I used to completely skip this, thinking that the gym worked my upper body and running worked my lower body. That was a dumb thing to think. Hips, knees, and ankles need proper support from the muscles around them.
Before every run I do the foam roll to loosen up my IT bands on the outsides of my legs. This helps ensure that they don't get tight and end up pulling my kneecap slightly out of alignment.
Even given all of the above, my Dad (age 68) still likes to remind me of all his old pals who ran lots in their younger years and now have bad knees. I like to think that I'm doing it right and they didn't, that my training plan is better, that I have the benefit of modern shoes that they didn't. But the way I see it: even if I do end up with bad knees, I'd rather have spent my peak years using my body to its fullest rather than sitting on the sidelines preserving myself for retirement.
- Injury Status Cured
I would suggest getting a gait analysis done. I went to a doctor who has a running clinic to get this done. He pointed out certain flexibility, strength issues and extreme pronation, that caused my knees to twist a lot when I would strike. He gave me a specific stretching and strengthening program, got me in the correct shoes and insoles (off-the-shelf) and I have not had any knee issues since. And I do about double my old mileage.
Honestly, I recommend this for every runner I know, to avoid future problems. Best $300 I ever spent. The before and after videos of my gait are astounding.
- Injury Status Cured
I had runner's knee for 2 years. I thought it was never going away. I tried everything from foam roller, stretching, going to PT.
What worked in the end was cross training. I needed to strengthen my quads. Biking, hiking, swimming, climbing stairs did the trick. I could not only run everyday without switching it up.
- Injury Status Cured
- Physical activity per week 8+ hours
Mine was eventually cured with orange superfeet inserts.
I went to the sports medicine guy and he very quickly diagnosed it as runners knee. He seemed a little too eager to diagnose it that way though, I think his only questions were "where does it hurt" and "how much do you run". As soon as I told him my mileage, 50-60 mpw, he thought it was runners knee. He directed me to a PT for strengthening and stretching and recommending orange superfeet inserts.
I was pretty skeptical since his diagnosis came so quickly and my symptoms didn't really match everything I'd read about runners knee. Went to the PT. Did the exercises and stretching for weeks. No progress.
Finally I was getting desperate and bought the $40 inserts. They worked like magic, within days the pain was less when I ran. It was completely gone within weeks.
I'm still not sure if this guy was brilliant or lucked into the diagnosis. Even though runners knee is supposed to be felt at the front of the knee, he called it "referred pain".
I had 'runners knee' for years. Remember this is a catch all phrase to describe knee painwhere the cause isn't known. I agree that seeking out a good physiotherapist is the place to start. Ultimately for me I had an MRI which revealed nothing, but elected to have keyhole surgery which removed my plica and since then problem solved. No I hadn't heard of it either before the surgery... Took over a year to get to that point and then a few months recovery. Obviously surgery is a last resort. As an aside I'm not sure if running on forefoot is always the answer, but again for me increasing stride frequency has kept me injury free since, circa 3 years.
- Injury Status In Pain
- Chronicity 6-18 Months
In march 2014 I was crazy excited to train to bike up one of my favorite mountains. I started training early in the season. I haven't had a car in like...5 years and uphill/downhill street riding is part of my norm. I ride trails on the weekends and early mornings on some weekdays. In addition, I was doing some light running and squat workouts.
Anyway. Long story short is, I had pain under my kneecaps when I was resting, thought that it was a sign of be being whiny, so I pushed harder, which made it worse. Both knees had the same thing going. I don't have insurance, so I had to go by Dr. Google and some friends, but runner's knee seems to fit my symptoms. I did nothing, rested, elevated, iced, compressed, all that stuff. I did that for a couple weeks. Then weeks turned into months. It hurt to walk across my apartment, it hurt to sit, it hurt to freaking lay down.
I'd read this stuff that would say "oh, you have runner's knee? Try riding a bike!" and I'd smack my forehead. There are 2 things that make my knee freak out instantly, that's anything resembling a pedaling motion and squats.
It's been 8 months. I'm going crazy. I didn't realize how much of myself was wrapped up in riding/hiking/spelunking, but dammit, being immobile is really wearing me down psychologically. I can't even get freaking groceries because I don't have a car. I haven't needed one until all this. I was watching a show yesterday and one of the characters knelt down and was doing something while talking, and I realized that someone crouching down on the ground seems superhuman to me at this point. It drives me insane. A year ago I was doing higher level canyoneering, some pretty technical spelunking trips, and riding further/higher than I ever have.
And here I am. If I walk half a mile on a flat road to the store, I'll be paying for it for days. My uncle is a PT with an emphasis in Sports stuff. He's trying to help me out, but I don't have money, so visits are infrequent. All the exercises he's told me to do make it hurt more, or leave me feeling the same. I'm foam rolling 3 times a day, strengthening medial quads, stretching IT band, and trying to avoid any kind of stressful activity. When I get back to riding, I know I'm going to do a lot of things different, but for now, I just want to use stairs again. Or, you know, not have to ice my knees for months on end.