Firstly, there are many names for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome as it’s sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee”. These nicknames were adopted as this painful condition is common for people who participate in sports, particularly females and young adults. However, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or Chondromalacia Patella Pain can occur in nonathletes, as well.
Secondly, runner’s knee is a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens. Common causes for chondromalacia patella include: Acute trauma of the patella, especially fracture or dislocation. Muscular imbalance in groups around the knee. In addition, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is commonly described as pain on the front and sometimes the side of the knee.
Moreover, a tight iliotibial band is usually part of this pain equation. The iliotibal band is a tight layer of tissue that runs along the side of the thigh. Runner’s knee can develop because this tight layer of tissue pulls the kneecap out of alignment. When the condition presents as pain on the front of the knee, on or under the kneecap, it is also known as Chondromalacia patella. Running, develops some muscles while others get little or no work, leading to weakness. This creates a muscle imbalance, often in the hip area.
For example, muscle imbalance can cause a malalignment, affecting the body’s ability to control the appropriate tracking of the kneecap in the femoral groove during running. Continued running can lead to damage in the cartilage on the underside of the patella. In addition, lack of flexibility or muscle strength in the large muscles of the legs (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps) as well as the Achilles tendon all can contribute to runner’s knee.
Usually, in a healthy knee, the kneecap glides smoothly up and down the femoral groove (or trochlear groove, which is located on top of the femur. Unlike with runner’s knee, the kneecap doesn’t glide smoothly in the femoral groove, causing increased pressure and pain.
Certainly, pain in your knees is the main symptom of runner’s knee. Sadly, This is a chronic condition caused by overuse. Unlike an acute, traumatic injury, the pain of this condition comes on overtime. The knee pain is usually present while running or during other activity, such as:
Other symptoms of runner’s knee may include:
If the condition lasts for longer than three weeks, interferes with walking or running, or gets worse, professional evaluation is indicated. Although rare, over time it may result in permanent knee cartilage damage. Seeing an orthopaedic specialist at UOA can provide a confirmed diagnosis, including ruling out other causes or injuries.
Steven F. Habusta, Ryan Coffey, Subitchan PonnarasuEdward E. GriffinIn: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. 2021 Jul 1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29083563/
Apr-Jun 1992;4(2):77-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.1992.tb00811.x. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1605999/
2018 Feb;50(1):28-33. doi: 10.5152/eurasianjmed.2018.17277. Epub 2018 Feb 1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29531488/