A chronically painful knee can be not only painful for the athlete but can also be very difficult to diagnose. This is because often times the pain can be vague and seem to “come and go.” After ruling out any more serious complications, I find one common cause of knee pain is known as “runners knee” otherwise known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is characterized by vague pain behind and around the knee cap often made worse with activity, bending, and going down stairs. Mild swelling may also be noted. The cause is typically multifactorial and usually related to over-use. Muscle imbalances in the legs resulting from pelvic, knee, and feet alignment issues are typically present.
How is it Diagnosed?
A physical exam will be performed with range of motion and orthopedic testing of the knee. You doctor may also order an X-Ray or MRI if he feels necessary. Pain is often noted in deep flexion especially when weight bearing(such as squatting) and is frequently felt behind the knee often made worse with activity.
How is it Treated?
Step number one is to consult your physician and have the knee examined. Most cases of runners knee require some professional intervention or they may become chronic. Initial treatment may include passive modalities such as ultra-sound, muscle stimulation, or heat. The alignment of the knee, hips and feet will need to be addressed by a chiropractic physician. Additionally, rehabilitation exercises should be prescribed in order to correct the underlying problems with muscle imbalances. This can be corrected through techniques such as myofascial release, manipulation, and therapeutic exercise.
The bottom Line
Consult a chiropractic physician or sports medicine doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to rule out more serious pathologies. The treatment plan should include a multifactorial approach including passive modalities, manipulation of any joint dysfunctions, and therapeutic exercise to correct muscle imbalance’s.