Runner’s knee or jumper’s knee is a disorder of the joints, especially the knees. It is resulted from the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, thus weakening the kneecaps. It is a common problem in sportsmen like cyclists, soccer players, rugby players etc. It can also occur in young adults or after middle age due to exertion of the knee due to faulty walking or running techniques.
In this condition the cartilage under the kneecap wears away causing pain and inflammation. The kneecap ceases to operate smoothly over the cartilage. The symptoms are generally a harsh and scraping noise from the kneecaps, due to the friction created by the rough cartilage when the knee is exerted. The other symptom is severe pain after walking or running, followed by swelling of the knee.
How does it come?
Overpronation or in other words incorrect landing of the feet during walking or running causes runner’s knee. If the feet rotate too far inward, the kneecaps tend to twist sideways. If the quadriceps muscles (leg muscles) are not strong they will also not support the smooth operation of the kneecap when in movement. Also, over training or badly fit shoes can lead to twisting of kneecaps on a regular basis. So make sure that you wear good running and walking shoes that provide you enough room and cushion to move comfortably.
Here are some self-help tips to deal with runner’s knee
1) Consult your doctor for anti-inflammatory gels or drugs that you can apply on the affected area. You can massage gels onto the affected area 3 times a day
2) Apply ice packs on the shin area
3) If the condition is chronic, try to keep your foot on a footrest while sitting. Avoid standing. Try to give as less pressure to the kneecaps
4) Try to strengthen your thigh muscles when the pain has subsided. Take your doctors nod on this.
Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps
1) Steps – Place a box in front of you. Step on the box and step down. While doing this make sure your kneecaps follow a line between the big and second toe.
2) Squats – Hold a support. Place one leg in the front. Lower your body to about 45 degrees. Straighten your body and repeat this for the other leg. Make sure your kneecaps follow a line between the big and second toe.
3) Lie down on a flat surface with your head facing up. Lift both your legs a little. Lower them back. Do at least 20 a day.
Remember to seek medical consultation from an orthopedic surgeon if you realize you are affected by runner’s knee. This is very important.