This time of the year we all strap on the brand-new running shoes and start putting foot to pavement. Running feels like freedom, until the knee pain sets in. Even seasoned runners can develop knee problems. Today, we’ll address how you can prevent runner’s knee or provide some relief.
Today, we’ll take a look at:
- What is runner’s knee and what causes it?
- Four ways to prevent runner's knee
- Runner’s knee recovery and relief
What Is Runner’s Knee?
Knee pain, as common as it is, can take you right off your feet. Runner’s knee, technically called patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is a collective term for painful knee conditions in the front of the knee and kneecap area.
Also called jumper’s knee, runner’s knee is caused by athletic activities such as running, jumping, and squatting, or by injury from a fall, and is linked to poor strength in the lower back, hips, or core, or to an awkward movement of the knee. It causes a dull, aching pain to the front of the knee and in the kneecap area, called the patella.
What Causes Runner’s Knee?
Repeated stress or injury to the knee joint causes irritation to the soft tissues or lining of the knee, strain to the tendons, or wear of the cartilage in the knee. The result is an ongoing pain in the knee when doing normal activities such as walking, bending, or climbing stairs. It can take four to six weeks, or even longer, to heal a knee from this condition, putting your workout on hold and making some of your daily activities quite painful.
Anatomy of Knee Pain
Your knee is the largest joint in your body and is made up of many moving parts such as the lower portion of the femur (thigh bone) and the upper end of the tibia (the shinbone), the patella (kneecap), and connective tissues such as the four main ligaments of the knee and connecting muscles.
The patella rests inside of a groove in the femur called the trochlear groove and moves easily with a lubricating substance called the articular cartilage. There’s also a thin lining called the synovium which covers the joint. Just below the knee is padding that functions as a kind of “shock absorber” for the knee.
Injury to any of these areas can cause the lasting knee pain of runner’s knee. With all of these complex moving parts, it’s no wonder the knee area is prone to injury.
How Do You Diagnose Runner’s Knee?
It takes a medical doctor or an orthopedic specialist to diagnose runner’s knee and provide a course of treatment which may include exercises to strengthen the knee, hips, and lower back. They may also recommend compression and elevation of the knee.
But there are also ways you can prevent runner’s knee or make it feel better if you already have it. Let’s take a look at four ways you can help prevent this painful condition, and then we’ll take a look at some relief measures you can take.
Prevent Runner’s Knee
To help you care for your knees and prevent runner’s knee, try these four important tips, which will help you to protect the complex knee joints, keep them lubricated, and keep your body strong to prevent injury.
It’s not just a gimmicky way to get you to drink your allotted glasses of water each day – it’s imperative to keep your body well-hydrated, especially for the sake of your knees. Hydration keeps the moving parts of your knees better lubricated, providing better cushion and mobility.
For a tasty and refreshing way to keep hydrated, consider a wellness boost with your hydration. Try CBD drink mixes in delicious Kiwi-Strawberry, Peach, and Fruit Punch flavors to power your inner athlete and keep all your joints hydrated.
Each packet delivers up to 29 mg of vitamin C, which is essential for the production of collagen needed by the tendons in your knees, and 25 mg of Superior Broad Spectrum CBD formula in nano-encapsulation technology that makes it water-soluble. The drink mixes are also vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and caffeine-free with fewer than 10 calories per serving, so drink up before and after your big run in the park or on the treadmill!
Regardless of how you do it – hydration isn’t optional.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Part of avoiding injury during activity is to exercise supportive muscles and develop strength where your body needs it. To support your running and training, while avoiding knee injuries, consider these:
- Strengthen hamstrings and quadriceps with squats or lunges. Use slow and deliberate movements when training to prevent injury and watch your form. Be careful not to twist your knees awkwardly when doing side lunges. Bad form often leads to injury. (A personal trainer can help you with correct form.)
- Do core strength training regularly.
- Do plyometric strength training exercises, in moderation, to keep your muscles strong for jumping or explosive movements where injury can sometimes occur.
- Light weight training each week.
Warm Up Properly and Watch Your Form
Poor form, accidental movements or falls, or repetitive wear are to blame for many injuries, which you can feel the moment your shoe twists on a rock while you’re running, or you catch your knee in just the wrong way when stepping aside for a lunge. The moment something pops pulls, or snaps, you often know.
But you can also begin to feel the painful effects of runner’s knee over time as the wear and tear of repetitive motions begin to take their toll.
To help prevent this, wear the proper footwear, spend five to 10 minutes gently warming up your muscles before your run, and avoid running when you are already experiencing knee pain.
Consult the Professionals
Here at cbdMD, we are CBD professionals – so we might tell you to take CBD on a regular basis to keep your body working optimally and to make you feel better (or sleep better, an important component to healing) or to stock up your gym bag with CBD topicals to slather on your aching knees, wrists, shoulders, etc. But that’s our forte. It’s what we know best.
There are other professionals you need on your team, people who you can ask questions and seek advice. While you may know your body the best, others may know better how it works. Get the right team of support to help you on your fitness journey – to help you learn about preventing athletic injury, how to heal from it, and how to maintain the proper nutrition for your body while you are working out.
- Work with a medical doctor to screen you for health issues that may affect your knees.
- Consult a nutritionist to help you build the right diet and supplementation to support healthy joints.
- Consult any specialists you may need: ortho, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, yoga instructors, personal trainers, etc. to help you prevent knee injury and deal with it if it happens. This is especially crucial if you have had knee injuries in the past, which could make you more susceptible to reinjury or a flare-up of pain that needs addressing.
Relief for Runner’s Knee
All the best-laid plans, right? If you find yourself, despite your efforts to prevent runner’s knee, suffering from debilitating pain in one or both knees, the first thing to do is to stop doing the activities that cause pain and make the condition worse. Your doctor may also recommend a course of action called RICE.
RICE is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It is used as a way of kick-starting the healing process when there’s been a fall or an injury, including to a joint such as your knee.
First, rest the affected joint to prevent further stress, specifically repetitive stress, to the knee joint. Apply ice to the affected area (you can use a flexible ice pack or a package of frozen peas or blueberries) to the area for 30 minutes at a time. Avoid heat on the area for the first few days after injury. Wrap your knee to apply compression and elevate your knee joint above the heart. Your doctor can explain the fundamentals of RICE and whether it would be the best method for managing your particular knee pain or injury.
Use CBD Pain Relief Creams
Another option, and one you can use with or without RICE, is to use topical CBD formulas that are fortified with pain-relief ingredients.
- Get a tub of CBD Recover Cream in the 1500 mg strength. Fortified with phytocannabinoids CBD, CBG, and CBN, this hemp cream also has temporary pain reliever histamine dihydrochloride to help tackle the pain while you work on healing. There’s a gentle warming sensation to help relieve the stiffness, while CBD and other botanical ingredients like arnica work to soothe discomfort. Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, also helps to support all those working parts of your knee joint.
- Get a jar of CBD bath salts to amp up your soak. We recommend 500 mg soothing CBD bath salts with arnica for that relaxing soak your aching knees need.
Rest Your Knee
It may take several weeks of dedicated rest for your knee to heal. Avoid activities that cause pain, wrap the knee or use a cane for support when you are walking, and avoid lifting heavy weight using your knees. Under your doctor's care, with CBD creams to help bring relief, and with the proper rest your knees can heal properly, which will help you to avoid reinjuring the same area once you return to your regular workout routine. Fortunately, many people who develop runner’s knee are able to heal without requiring surgery for knee repair, but this is something your doctor will keep an eye on and make a final determination.
When you have your doctor’s all-clear, you can work to slowly stretch, strengthen, and prepare your knee as you work your way back into your regular workout routine. Consider tweaking your routine to avoid knee stress for the first few weeks to give your knees more time to get stronger.
For More Tips
With these strategies, you can try to prevent runner’s knee from developing. For more tips on how to prevent runner’s knee or other workout injuries, and how to provide relief from aches and pains due to working out, follow cbdMD’s blog.