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Runner’s Knee and Knee Injuries; Pain Not to Run From

Running is more than a great outlet for stress – it strengthens core muscles, aids in maintaining healthy respiratory and circulatory systems, and even increases lung capacity.

As with all exercises, one should take the proper precautions before engaging in running: stretch beforehand, stay hydrated, and wear comfortable clothing and comfortable footwear. It’s important to know your body and its natural limits before pushing yourself.

Knee injuries and why they hurt

Knee pain can be acute and traumatic. Acute pain is caused by repetitive strain, or due to wear and tear. As one can imagine, traumatic pain refers to ligament sprains and tears, which can be mild, moderate, or severe.

The most commonly injured ligaments are the medial collateral (inside of the knee), lateral collateral (outside of the knee), and the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (deep inside the knee).

Runner’s and jumper’s knee

There are a number of misconceptions surrounding runner’s knee. It isn’t actually a single injury – it refers to a broad category of knee injuries and ailments that are often associated with running:

  • Overexertion leading to muscle sprains or tears
  • Direct trauma to the knee leading to breaks or fractures
  • Misalignment of bones in the knee leading to joint pain or trauma

My knee hurts, but I’m not a runner – do I have runner’s knee?
It’s likely that an injured knee can resemble runner’s knee symptoms. Here are some common, non-running related knee injury causes:

  • Problems with feet, like fallen arches or flat feet
  • Shoes with poor support
  • Excessive weight, resulting in great loads being placed on the knees and legs

Preventing runner’s knee
For runners and athletes, preventing knee injury can be as simple as choosing comfortable and functional shoes, avoiding hard surfaces like concrete and keeping thigh and leg muscles strong and healthy.

For non-runners, preventing runner’s knee can be a matter of wearing the right orthotics, avoiding overexerting the legs and thighs, and maintaining a healthy weight.

My knee hurts – what should I do?

In the case of serious pain and injury, immediately consult a physician to treat the condition. Delaying, or not seeking, medical attention is unadvisable, as serious injuries – like a broken or fractured knee – can quickly lead to greater pain and injury.

For immediate treatment, the PRICE protocol (protect, rest, ice, compression, elevation) can also be used.

However, in the case of chronic pain, or in the case of discomfort, we at Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries can help through a number of treatments, including shockwave and cold laser therapy:

  • Shockwave therapy aids in the growth of new tissue, thus relieving pain and discomfort. Athletic knee injuries, as well as ligament injuries, can be treated by delivering a shockwave into damaged tissue, stimulating growth, without the need for invasive surgery.
  • Cold laser therapy treats acute musculoskeletal injuries by speeding up cell metabolism. Utilizing a cold laser to stimulate the body’s naturally light sensitive receptors, cold laser therapy repairs cells damaged by injury and inflammation.

If you live in Calgary and suffer from knee pain, runner’s knee or another sports injury, please contact us. We’ll be happy to help you.

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