Its often the case that when you discover a condition named after a specific sporting activity such as tennis elbow or runner’s knee then you naturally tend to believe that the people who are avid participators in those are the only ones who get affected. Of course this isn’t the case for we name such conditions for no particular reason. Its true that while runners knee is something that many athletes are stricken down with the fact is that any athlete who uses their legs a lot – a cyclist, pole-vaulter, boxer, and so on can be struck down by the condition just as easily. In fact, its rather ironic that runners knee isn’t actually one specific condition, rather its a term that doctors use loosely to describe a set of problems that occur in the knee.
For instance, almost every type of athletic pursuit that requires you to bend and straighten your knee repeatedly can bring about the condition. The reason is that such motion can rub your nerves the wrong way. Sometimes, the tendons that connect your muscles to the bones around the knees can get injured and cause pain and inflammation. In a significant number of cases, overworked and inflamed tendons become very painful, to the point where even walking can be difficult. In some cases, simply landing hard on your knees can cause the kind of nerve or tendon injury that results from overuse and exercise.
The worst thing is that runner’s knee can make you feel lousy. The main symptom is a severe pain around the kneecap – most specifically where the thigh bone meets the kneecap. Sufferers often experience a grinding and popping sensation in the knee and there is usually pain when you climb downstairs or even when you try to walk or sit down. The most sensible thing to do if you develop runners knee is to have your doctor give you an MRI or even just an x-ray or CT scan to confirm the extent of the problem. While all of this does sound a little scary, you should be reassured by the fact that treating runners knee is actually quite straightforward. Most minor cases go away some rest and icing of the affected area for about a half an hour each day. The symptoms are usually drastically reduced after a week or so especially when combined with a tight knee support. If it hurts when you sit down then you should try elevating your knee with a pillow and it doesn’t hurt – no pun intended – to take some take NSAIDs i.e. painkillers like Advil – to settle the swelling and pain.
Athletes often suffer from aching joints and muscles and so they are usually better taking acetaminophen in place of Advil because this causes fewer stomach complaints with prolonged use. If you have runners knee and you want to resort to painkillers, then doctors are usually of the opinion that Tylenol is one of the safest on the market but, as with everything stick to the recommended dosage and limit yourself to no more than 6 tablets a day.
Researchers have found now that simple well thought-out stretching exercises can help a great deal with keeping runners knee at bay. Exercises especially that strengthen thigh muscles and leg muscles making them stronger and more flexible make the occurrence of runner’s knee a lot less frequent.