Are you suffering with knee problems?

  • Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 1:20 a.m.

Did you start exercising and your knees acted up?

There are many issues that can cause knee pain. I am going through the most common overuse injuries and remember that a doctor needs to diagnose the problem.

So let’s first look at some overuse knee problems:

Patellar tendonitis — Also called “Jumper’s Knee,” athletes such as basketball and volleyball players often struggle with this when dealing with knee pain. This tendon connects the knee cap to the shinbone so the pain is below the knee. Typically, there is inflammation due to overuse of that tendon. If it is an overused tendon with no inflammation, it is called patellar tendinosis. Instead of the inflammation, there are microscopic tears and thickening of that tendon. Pain will start after an activity and will continue when the injury progresses. Strength and flexibility exercises are important to prevent this and there are braces called infrapatellar straps to support that tendon and improve stability. Many times you see basketball players wear this strap below the knee.

Runner’s Knee — There is pain around or behind the knee cap. Pain is worse when bending, going down stairs or downhill, and possible swelling. When doing this research, Iliotibial Band Syndrome also is called “Runner’s Knee” and I will get into that next. This particular Runner’s Knee injury is the bruising near the bottom of the knee cap. It can be caused by incorrect tracking of the knee cap when running, over pronation (rolling the foot inward), inappropriate running shoes or an excessive increase in the training load (too much too soon). This injury is often misdiagnosed with Condromalacia patella which is the deterioration of cartilage in the knee joint or damage to the back of the knee cap.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (the “other” runner’s knee injury) — Pain is located typically to the outside lower part of the knee, even below where the IT band attaches to the tibia (shinbone). However, the pain can go all along your Illiotibial Band up the side to your hip. Imbalance and overuse is another reason why people (not only runners) struggle with IT Band Syndrome. Strength and stretching exercises are also the key to prevent or recover from this syndrome.

Bursitis of the knee — The bursa is a small sac filled with fluid on the outside of the knee cap. Also called Pre Patellar Bursa (most common bursa with knee bursitis) Pre Patellar Bursitis is the inflammation of this bursa. There is pain, swelling and heat. This bursitis is also known as “Popeye” knee, and the swelling can be severe right on top of the knee cap. Again, it is important for a doctor to diagnose because some can be caused by an infection and antibiotics are imperative.

Next week I will be going over exercises to help prevent overuse injuries and rehabilitate the knee. Also, be aware that I didn’t even touch any knee injuries such as Meniscus tear, ACL or MCL tears, no cartilage etc.

For now, if you are dealing with knee problems, check and see if you are doing too much too soon. Are you stretching enough? Is there an imbalance of the muscles? Is your footwear appropriate?

Rest and ice are always good to perform if any knee issues arise and to prevent knee issues. After a long and hard workout, lift those legs up, strap a couple of ice packs on your knees and enjoy a good book or TV program. Anti-inflammatories such as aspirin and ibuprofen will help with the inflammation if needed. Make sure with your doctor first that you are not allergic to these over-the-counter medicines.

Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt

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