Runners knee is a colloquial term and catch all phrase, but not at all accurate
Runners’ knee could either be iliotibial band syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome
What is iliotibial band syndrome?
Used to describe knee pain that is…
- Located to the side of the knee
- Pain tends to be worse descending stairs
- Not as painful ascending
- Pain first started while going downhill
- Doing a deep knee bend does not especially hurt
- Pain is not particularly affected by sitting
Iliotibial band syndrome is characterized by lateral knee pain that is generally non traumatic and associated with overuse
The iliotibial band is a piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside/lateral part of your leg
It connects your hip and you knee
The band connects into the side of your knee and can rub and create friction and swelling causing pain.
The ITB is a unique connective tissue structure with some properties of a tendon, others of a ligament, and an unusual tension control system consisting of a couple of hip muscles at the upper end, and it probably does not slide significantly over the side of the knee.
What can you do to help iliotibial band syndrome?
Speak to your health professional or sports chiropractor 😊
Manual Therapy – Hands on analysis of hip knee and ankle function.
Range of motion – Ensure ankles and hips are moving well. They greatly impact knee pain
Stability – Single leg strength is essential for rehabilitation
Strength – Functional strength your hip and core muscles stabilize your leg when its off the ground in the gait/running cycle
Motor Control – Balance and coordination of muscle function “recruiting the correct muscles” will help with knee pain
Does stretching help ITB syndrome?
Stretching in general can help. A combination of dynamic and static stretching focussed on hip and ankle is probably your best bet.
Does foam rolling help ITB syndrome?
It is likely to provide some temporary relief and should be part of an active recovery day.
Foam rolling your thigh muscles for 30sec to 2 mins might help loosen things off.
Follow this link to my YouTube videos on stretching and foam rolling
How long does it take to fix iliotibial band syndrome?
This depends on the nature and chronicity of the knee pain. Pain can last from weeks to months. This is going to be a case by case answer
What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?
“Syndrome” – Mysterious and complicated in nature, again used as a catch all phrase.
Let me break it down
- Location – Mainly front of the knee
- Pain tends to be worse ascending stairs
- Not comfortable with pressure directly on the kneecap
- Doing a deep knee bend/squat aggravates
The main cause of PFPS is orientation and alignment of the kneecap on the femur. It can be due to trauma to the patella. But most often it is due to overuse and overload of the joint, biomechanical changes or muscle weakness or dysfunction.
What causes increased pressure on the patellofemoral joint?
- Increased levels of physical activity
- Malalignment of the patella as it moves through the femoral groove
- Quadriceps muscle imbalance
- Tight anatomical structures, e.g. retinaculum or iliotibial band.
What can I do to help kneecap pain?
Seek the advice of an expert in musculoskeletal care – a physio or chiro. Ensure you get appropriate diagnosis and a treatment plan. This needs to include on table treatment, you must also do some rehab/strength/stretching depending on what you chosen expert tells you do to.
As a general recommendation, time on a stationary bike will help. It is pretty gentle in general and keeps the knee moving through a good range of motion. Boring as hell but effective non the less.
Does strapping or K tape help knee pain?
Strapping can help stabilize and give extra support in the presence of pain or injury. K tape is different and used for a different purpose. It is designed to give more subtle feedback to your brain and body. It is sometimes used to deload/spread the load over different structures in the knee.
Will it make a difference? It might. And it depends. Its probably only marginal and temporary.
GET IN CONTACT IF YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR KNEE PAIN