Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or also widely known as runner’s knee is a condition where pain, mostly described as sharp or dull and achy, is felt at the kneecap. The pain is more prominent after running, or during walking up or down the stairs. The patella is mainly held by your quadriceps muscles which are the Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, and Rectus Femoris.
People suffering from runner’s knee frequently have abnormal patella tracking towards the lateral side (outwards) of the limb. To perform the patella tracking assessment, the patella is palpitated while the patient extends their knee. If the patient’s patella tracks away towards the side, then the patient has a patella tracking issue.
Here are some tips on how to alleviate the pain and help resolve it once and for all, at your own home just by using some common tools:
GOLF BALL ON FEET
Most common mistake people make is to localize the problem. They tend to forget that the kinetic chain affects the entire body. Treating just the knee alone is a narrow approach. Although you may have pain at your kneecap, it can also affect your foot, hip, and even your lower back. Step on a golf ball at the affected limb to release tension at the bottom of your foot for 1-2 minute. Focus on the sore spot.
ROLLER FOAM THE OUTER THIGH (VASTUS LATERALIS), IT BAND AND HIP FLEXOR
Release the tension at the outer thigh, IT band and hip flexor using a roller foam. It is usually more sore or painful at the muscles closer to the knee. Focus on the sore spot for 1-2 minutes.
STRENGTHEN THE QUADS AND SUPPORTING MUSCLES
Once the tight muscles are released, only then should you strengthen the quadriceps muscles. Examples of such exercise would be leg extension, squats, and lunges. You would also want to strengthen the supporting muscles which are the hamstrings, glutes, and adductors too.
Other supportive tools such as a knee brace and taping can help assist in your recovery. But relying on them will not resolve your problem.
If your condition persists or worsens, please contact your physician or healthcare provider.
About The Author
Ke Wynn is a certified personal trainer by ACE, specializing in corrective exercise and sports injury, and also a certified deep tissue sports massage therapist. He was given the prestigious and internationally recognized award as “The BioMechanics Corrective Exercise Specialist” of the Year 2018 for his commitment and success in helping his clients to live a pain-free and functional life. He is a strong advocate of staying active and eating right through education. Ke Wynn struggled with weight issues during his teens but managed to overcome them through exercise. Since then, he has successfully completed major triathlons, half-marathons, cycling events and obstacle races in his early 30’s.
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