Runners Knee - Sports Injury

Anterior knee pain is more commonly known as “runners knee” and is a pain in the front of the knee. As the name suggests any sport which involves an active amount of running can cause repeated strain on the knee, and participants may be at risk from suffering from this injury. Biking can also hold a risk of causing anterior knee pain as well as activities which involve stepping or climbing. For this reason, anterior knee pain is one of the most common of all sports injuries since use of the legs, and especially the repeated bending of the knee, is integral to every sport.

The pain is felt most acutely at the upper front of the knee and can be caused by two main problems around the kneecap area. The most vulnerable part of the knee is the patellofemoral joint which is where the thigh bone and the kneecap connect, located on the upper part of the knee. If the cartilage surrounding the kneecap becomes softened, or the patellofemoral joint becomes misaligned then it is possible you could suffer from anterior knee pain.

Checking for “Runners Knee”

The first thing to feel for with anterior knee pain is obviously discomfort at the front of the knee. The pain is usually a mechanical one, meaning that the more exercise and strain placed on the injury then the worse it will feel. As you warm up, the pain may go away, but it likely to return once you have ceased the activity.

Immediate symptoms are sometimes more noticeable and are more clearly indicative of anterior knee pain. If you knee ‘gives way’ as you run, or if you feel sudden sharp pain or catch as you move, then it is likely your suffering from runners knee. Sometimes this pain can be mistaken for a dislocated kneecap, either way it is worth further investigation and consulting a doctor about. Other symptoms include noises when the knee is repositioned or changes direction, such as popping, crunching or snapping sounds. These are all reflective or damage to the knee joint.

It is a good idea if you feel you suspect you may have this injury to seek a consultation and undergo a physical examination from a professional sports doctor. They will be able to feel and assess the knee in order to confirm the presence of any anterior knee injury.

Treating Anterior Knee Pain

One of the difficulties with anterior knee pain is that it can be hard to diagnose and treat, since the symptoms and necessary treatment can vary so much. The best course of action is to rest the knee as much as possible and seek professional help for further and more comprehensive advice. Taking anti-inflammatory medicine will help reduce initial swelling, but to actually treat the condition you will need a degree of physiotherapy. The doctor may also wish to tape your knee to give it extra support during treatment and to relieve any strain on the joint during movement. If up to six months after you first experienced the pain there has been no improvement, then consult your doctor again and the option of surgery is worth consideration.

To prevent making the pain any worse in the meantime before treatment, it is best to avoid moving the knee unnecessarily when you suspect you have runners knee. Simple actions like moving up or down stairs can exacerbate the injury and cause further problems. Kneeling or squatting is also unadvisable. Sitting for extended periods of time can also present a problem as this position does not provide the most effective rest for the knee. In addition when you rise from sitting this can also place an acute strain on the knee which is best avoided.