Today we’ll wrap up the Runner’s Knee series with a look at whether or not it can be cured.
Can you “cure” Runner’s Knee?
“Cure” is a hard word. “Treat” is better.
Until the exact causes of runner’s knee are identified and understood, runners will always have to be evaluating their footwear, running form and paying attention to their body if they feel pain.
While physical therapy worked in reducing the symptoms of my runner’s knee and I pretty much run pain-free, I will still occasionally have some pain in my knees. Sometimes I know why (a long, steep downhill or a long run in shoes that are ready to be recycled) and sometimes I just take some ibuprofen and ice. The key is to actually do what your PT tells you.
Bhavana Reddy, a Kaiser Permanente PT, warns that runner’s knee “can come back if runners don’t change their shoes appropriately. Changing shoes, gradual training and proper stretching and strengthening exercises are good preventative actions. Purchasing shoes from a specialty running store is a good idea as well.” She also adds that icing can be helpful, but that runners sometimes “overdo it,” icing too long or too frequently which can mask pain or injury.
Fortunately, if it’s not too painful, you can still run with runner’s knee.
You will have to take time for stretching and adding in some strength exercises. “You may need to run less often, with less intensity or fewer miles, or replace some weekly runs with a cross training activity,” suggests Reddy.
Dr. Anita Rao sums it up nicely. “Overall people with runner’s knee have to be patient and follow their exercise and treatment program diligently. The symptoms may take some time to improve. It can be really frustrating for otherwise healthy patients who want to be better quickly.”
Frustrating, yes; but taking care of the pain and the problem now will mean you’re back on the road (or trail) soon and with less pain!