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Runners' Injuries: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Don't let the front of your knees keep you back from running
Continuing on as part of our 'winter running injury' series we bring attention to an annoying problem that many runners and other active individuals experience at the front of their knee. With the City2Surf and other races coming up, none of us want these troubles popping up on us, especially just weeks before an event.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is an umbrella term that relates to the complications that can occur to the joint between your knee cap (patella) and your thigh bone (femur), known as your patellofemoral joint. PFPS is an overuse injury, so it makes sense that once we kick into that next gear and start increasing our running volume and training, we can annoy that small joint at the front of the knee.
Pain usually occurs with anything that compresses the joint, such as going up/down stairs, sitting with your knees bent, kneeling and/or squatting.
One of the main causes of PFPS is the positioning of the knee cap within the joint. With tightened muscles/structures overcompensating for weaker or fatigued muscles, the knee cap can shift, relatively, within the patellofemoral joint causing a lot of stress to go through and thus overloading the joint, irritating the structures around it. Also, a drastic and quick change in running volume overloads the joint very quickly, sometimes it's not able to keep up with the new load and pain flares up on a runner.
Another big thing that could lead to PFPS is if the muscles that attach and support the joint are weaker on one side or the other, then you're going to get compensations happening at the area, which is usually going to tighten things up and be painful for a runner.
PFPS could become a much worse injury if left neglected, the causes behind it aren't addressed, and could actually end up resulting in less time running or doing any kind of leg strengthening work when that joint gets too irritated.
Get yourself running into Active Body Physiotherapy and give yourself the best chance to stop that annoying pain at the front of your knee prevent you from doing the running that you want to do.