Massage & Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)

Runner’s knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is the name given to a specific set of conditions that involve overuse or injury of the muscles in the kneecap and thigh. Running can place immense stress on the tendons, bone, and muscle in the knees and thighs, giving rise to the condition called Runner’s Knee.

While running, quads and hamstrings pull on tendons that attach to the knee cap. If any or all of the surrounding muscles are too tight this can pull the patella (kneecap) out of its normal tracking position, which in turn can create inflammation and pain. This condition is often a result of poor technique or a compensatory pattern for issues occurring in the hip or at the foot.

Not a runner but still experiencing knee pain?

You may still have Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This is an incredibly common (and often annoying or recurring) condition. Anyone returning to or starting an exercise program or even someone engaging in a one off activity that their body isn’t conditioned too can experience these symptoms.

  • Pain in the kneecap area

  • Pain when moving the knee

  • Increasing pain when walking downstairs or down a hill

  • Swelling

  • Popping

  • Tenderness

Causes include:

  • Lack of rest

  • Injury

  • Fallen arches or flat feet

  • Improper shoes

  • Running downhill

  • Inadequate rest and recovery

  • Over pronation or supination of the feet

  • Poor running technique

  • Not engaging gluteus muscles during everyday activity

Massage works in a similar way to stretching in that it loosens the muscles - but massage offers the benefit of being able to pull the muscles and tendons into better alignment.

  • Active release

  • Swedish

  • Trigger point

  • Deep tissue

In many cases a couple of standard massages will be enough to reduce the short term symptoms. They will reduce muscle tension and promote better movement.

If however, the symptoms have been around for a little longer then you will need to have more detailed treatments that focus on relieving issues both higher and lower at the hips and feet. Typically at Fitlife we would use a combination of the following:

  • Body Assessment – both static and functional (moving)

  • Trigger Point release/Dry Needling

  • Deep Tissue Massage/ Myofascial cupping

  • Myofascial release (a little gentler than Deep Tissue Massage!)

  • Mobilisation

  • Kinesiology Taping and finally

  • Some strengthening and activation programs or referral to an exercise specialist.

Think you’ve got Runner’s Knee? Come and see us ASAP!

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