Injury: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner's knee)

Gavin Burt breaks down this common and terribly painful injury.

by Gavin Burt

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The Causes of PFPS

Like most running injuries, PFPS is an overuse problem, which occurs for two main reasons, which often happen together…...

1) The kneecap is being forced against the knee with unreasonable pressure. The kneecap acts as a pulley, redirecting the force of the pull of the quadriceps (thigh) muscles into a direction that induces straightening of the knee. By its very nature then, the forces clamping the kneecap to the knee can be substantial and damaging.

2) The kneecap is not ‘tracking’ properly. In an ideal world the patella sits comfortably in a bony channel and doesn't shift left or right much when you bend your knee, but if there is an imbalance in the strength or flexibility of your quadriceps muscles, it will cause the kneecap to migrate to the left or the right, and the friction that is produced from this migration irritates the cartilage behind the kneecap.

How to treat PFPS - Next Page

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Discuss this article

As mentioned in the article, I think the majority of cases are caused by the quads stretch where runners pull their foot back up to their bum. It pulls the kneecap hard on the femur. It's a disastrous stretch. I see it all the time. Don't do it!

Posted: 04/01/2014 at 19:33



I have had knee pain since a cross training session ( lots of squat jumps) on monday night, running since has caused some discomfort so after reading this article I decided to go out for a short run yesterday and tried taking off and landing on my heels tricky but I think I got it right and my knee was fine while running but once I cooled down the pain started again now its a constant dull ache!! anybody know a running osteopath or physio around stratford upon Avon?  Thanks

Posted: 19/01/2014 at 08:54

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