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Return to Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome) Overview

More on Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome)

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Return to Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome) Overview

More on Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome)

Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome)

Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome (Runner's Knee)

What is runner's knee?

Runner's knee, also known as patellofemoral stress syndrome, is a condition characterized by the kneecap rubbing against the thighbone (femur) when moving.

What causes runner's knee?

Runner's knee may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running. Other causes may include the following:

  • a kneecap that is located too high in the knee joint
  • weak thigh muscles
  • tight hamstrings
  • tight Achilles tendons
  • walking or running with the feet rolling in, while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward

What are the symptoms of runner's knee?

The following are the most common symptoms of runner's knee. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • pain in and around the kneecap that may be felt with activity, or even after prolonged sitting with the knees bent, occasionally resulting in weakness or feelings of instability
  • rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that can be heard at times when the knee is bent and straightened
  • kneecap is tender to the touch

The symptoms of runner's knee may resemble other conditions and medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is runner's knee diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a runner's usually is confirmed with a complete medical history and a physical examination.

Treatment for runner's knee:

Specific treatment for runner's knee will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the injury
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the injury
  • your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for runner's knee is to stop running until running can resume without pain. Other treatment may include:

  • stretch exercises
  • strengthening exercises
  • arch support in shoes

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