by Frank J Klene, PT, DPT, CSCS
This month I want to talk about knee pain. The Mini Marathon is in just a few months, and training should be underway by now! The pathology I want to talk about is termed Patella-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), a common problem for long distance runners and people who begin a new exercise program.
Symptoms of PFPS are usually reported as a dull ache behind the knee cap that occurs with exercising. Patients may also report a dull ache with prolonged sitting (such as in a movie theater), and the pain can also be reported as sharp with deep knee squatting or when descending stairs.
PFPS is a fancy phrase for stating that the knee cap is not properly tracking or sliding over your leg bones. When the tracking is off, soft tissue and bony surfaces can rub together, in turn, causing pain. Sounds pretty awful, but more times than not, a good strengthening program can correct the poor mechanics and get you back to running, jumping and sport activities.
So with a problem of the knee, you should strengthen the knee, right? Well…not exactly. New research shows that simple hip strengthening exercises can improve lower extremity alignment and improve tracking of the knee cap. This is a great idea because many times your knee is inflamed and painful and will not tolerated excessive strengthening. Three easy hip exercises used commonly to treat PFPS can be found here. Check it out, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post a comment or email me!
Remember: May is closer than you think. Start your running progression now!
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