This article was published on November 18th, 2013
Runners knee, or Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is when the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap, the patella, is irritated. While it is normal for runners to have some minor pains and twinges, they can become serious if the right action is not taken.
Approximately 40% of running injuries are related to the knee, and 13% of runners have suffered from knee pain, according to a runnersworld.com survey of 4,500 respondents. Runners knee most commonly occurs during or after long runs, descending hills or stairs, or after extended periods of sitting.
The easiest resolution of runners knee is to take a few extra rest days and to reduce your overall mileage. Runners should avoid running downhill, which puts added stress and pressure on the knee. Instead, run uphill or do hill training on a treadmill, which has been found to be less painful.
It’s difficult to stop training, especially in the lead up to a race. Other options for training including biking, elliptical training and swimming, all which work the lower body and can help build endurance, but reduce the pressure on the knee.
Other remedies include lateral step training, using athletic tape to support the knee, and icing.
To prevent re-injury, shorten your stride and increase your steps-per-minute by 5-10%, which can reduce the stress on the knee by up to 30%.