Athletic taping, specifically KT tape, has become very popular among athletes and can be seen used by many athletes throughout the Olympics. The demand for KT tape among running athletes may be attributed to the rising cases of runner’s knee. By its technical name, runners are prone to this injury but so are people whose activities involve repetitive tasks that stress or stain the knees.
For athletes, runner’s knee is not only bothersome. It can hamper your training or worse, put you on the sideline. There are about 3 million runners in Canada each year and unfortunately, researches show that more than half of these runners will sustain some sort of chronic injury from running. In the 2014 Vancouver Sun Run 10K where more than 59,000 entrants joined, 66% of them suffered from some kind of knee pain and majority these runners ended with a runner’s knee.
What it’s like and how did it happen?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or commonly known as runner’s knee, involves pain that could range from mild discomfort to chronic pain around the knee, or, from the back of the knee cup to the thigh bone. The pain might be accompanied with a clicking sound as you bend or extend your knee. The pain becomes worse when walking downstairs or running downhill. You may also hear a popping sound or feel pain when you squat, kneel or rise from a chair.
To test if it is runner’s knee, sit down and place the affected leg on a chair, stretching it straight. Have someone squeeze your leg above the knee area while gently pushing on your kneecap. Push from the outside of the leg toward the middle as you tighten your thigh muscles. If pain is felt, then you are definitely looking into runner’s knee.
The truth is, runner’s knee is not actually about your knee. Ironic as it may seem, but this condition is about the mechanics of your thighs and feet which might not working their jobs properly. It is your thigh muscles that put your knee cap in place and it is your foot that gives you stability as you do activities, such as running. Weak thigh muscles and lack of appropriate foot support weakens the muscles. If you have suddenly increased mileage or went to an extreme running routine after being sedentary, then that it is likely that you will develop runner’s knee.
With the right warm up, exercise and treatment, you can actually get back to your favourite activity in no time.
Re-strengthening the Knee to Avoid Re-occurrences
Strengthening the knee is important when it comes to healthy recovery from runner’s knee. Essential stretches to keep your knees healthy focuses on the quadriceps, IT band and hip flexors.
Here’s how to do them. Do not do the stretch if it is painful for you.
- Quadriceps stretch. Hold your leg up behind for about 30 second with knees close together, feel the stretch and gently release.
- IT band stretch. Lay on your regular foam roller sideways and roll below the hip-bone, doing it 20 times.
- Hip flexor. Rest your leg on the back of a couch, pull navel into the spine and slowly lunge forward. Hold for about 30 seconds, feel the stretch and gently release.
Hip and Buttock Stretch for Runner’s Knee
This hip and buttock stretch is recommended by Livestrong.com. For this stretch, sit on the floor and bend your right leg so that the foot of your right leg is near your buttocks. Cross your left leg over your right leg so you feel a stretch in your left hip and the left side of your buttocks. To elongate the stretch, pull your knee slightly toward you. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, rest for a few seconds and then repeat six times
Athletic taping and knee brace to help treat and prevent runner’s knee
Athletic taping such as KT Tape helps provide relief from runner’s knee by aligning the knee cap and supporting the patella tendons. KT Tape is very comfortable to wear and sticks in place even after showering or during sweating. It doesn’t interfere anybody mechanics, so wearing it feels like not wearing it at all.
For runner’s knee, it is recommended that you go for custom runner’s knee brace instead of generic, over-the-counter knee brace. A physiotherapist shall do gait analysis and evaluate the severity of the problem first before providing a specific knee brace.
Athletic taping or knee bracing for runner’s knee should be administered by a qualified physio.
Get proper care for runner’s knee
If the pain is re-occurring or prolonged an x-ray or MRI may be needed to see the severity of the problem. Rarely, worst cases of runner’s knee need surgery. On instances when runner’s knee keeps coming back or if it has tolling on you for days, you should seek out immediately for a professional help. Usually, runner’s knee goes away with rehabilitative treatment, wearing custom runner’s knee brace or athletic tape.
Call us MVMT Physio & Chiro today for a no obligation appointment. We will evaluate the entirety of your knee’s problem and from there, create a specific program according to your condition.