What is Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runner's Knee)?
- The end of the femur where the patella (kneecap) sits and slides is called the femoral groove. This groove generally matches the shape of the patella.
- Sometimes with muscle imbalance such as a lack of strength or flexibility of the Quadriceps, the femur can rotate and cause the patella to strike the femoral groove causing pain, especially when the knee is bent.
- The good news is that Patellofemoral Syndrome is not a structural issue meaning that it is often caused by a weakness through the Quadriceps and Glutes and not through damage to the joint or ligaments and tendons.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain in and around the patella.
- Pain during exercise and activities that repeatedly bend the knee, such as climbing up and down stairs, running, jumping, squatting and running downhill.
- Pain after sitting for a long period of time with your knees bent. Pain related to a change in activity level or intensity, playing surface, or equipment.
- Popping or crackling sounds in your knee when climbing stairs or when standing up after prolonged sitting.
How do I fix it?!
Strengthen Quadriceps and Glutes
Included below are three simple exercises you can use to build Quadriceps strength and Glute Strength
- Clamshell: Start lying on one side, propped up on your forearm, shoulder over elbow and hips stacked. Externally rotate top hip while lifting top knee toward the ceiling, while feet stay glued together. Lower back down and repeat.
- Donkey Kick: Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists and knees right under hips. Extend one leg up and back, raising it to hip height with foot flexed. Press heel toward the ceiling, making sure back stays flat and knee points straight down. Lower back to hip height and repeat.
- Straight Leg Raise: Lie face up with legs straight out. The key is to keep the leg totally straight and contract your quadriceps before raising it straight up toward the ceiling. Hold for three to four seconds, then lower back down and repeat.
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