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Truth on Fitness: Does Runner's Knee Only Affect Runners?


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Knee pain is one of the most common complaints amongst physically active children and adults receiving treatment in sports medicine clinics. In fact, one study shows that 62% of all knee injuries are due to anterior knee pain in athletes of all ages. The most common joint problem is patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or more commonly known as “runner’s knee.” But does runner’s knee affect only runners?

Runner’s knee typically consists of pain originating from the kneecap region. The pain is most likely due to bone stress or lesions of the cartilage under the patella (kneecap). A usual factor for the emergence of runner’s knee is compressive loading on the patella. This can cause the patella to depress onto the femoral condyles, resulting in contact pressure. Repeated exposure to patellofemoral pressure may result in overuse injuries.

It has been known that impact during running exercises is a primary factor in runner’s knee. Compressive loading during running is measured at about seven times body weight but other activities that have both higher and lower compressive loads also correlate with PFPS. Jumping and squatting have high compressive loads while stair climbing measures at a mere three times body weight. All of these activities may contribute to knee pain and related symptoms.

However, though these exercises are different, they do share two common factors: knee joint angle and repetition overload. The degree of flexion of the knee joint is a contributing factor, among others, to the compression of the kneecap. Your quadriceps are required to maintain balance and constant conditions at the knee joint and anything that disrupts the balance may induce higher stress levels which might lead to injury. The knee is also vulnerable to reduced, seemingly innocuous compressive forces if they are extended over a long period of time. This is especially true when the knee joint must generate the majority of forces required during such compound lower body activities as stair climbing or elliptical exercise.

It is beneficial for any athlete to protect their knees during their activities and workouts. While focusing on your technique, take into consideration the degree at which your knee is bending. Also, try balancing the loading at your knee with your hip during lower body activities. Keeping this in mind during your workout may save you from runner’s knee and other anterior knee pain. Be safe, and have a great work out!

For more on runner's knee, click here to for the complete article.

Paul M. Juris, Ed.D.
Executive Director, CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science

Dr. Paul Juris

Dr. Juris earned his Doctorate in Motor Learning from Columbia University in 1993, followed by a variety of positions in higher education, rehabilitative medicine, professional sports, and fitness. Paul Juris, Ed.D. was named Executive Director of the CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science in January of 2007.


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Posted @ Saturday, July 09, 2011 1:29 AM by MBA institute in indore
Dr Juris, this article provides excellent information about running technique. Personally I also ensure that I add cycling and weight training into my programme.  
Diet is also important and is not touched on here. Its known that we do not take in enough Omega 3 in our western diet so I supplement with, among others, WINOmega3 complex (88%Omega3; EPA-DHA 60/15) and Stephan (TM) Flexibility. 
The only time that I have even felt that my knees were feeling the strain was after a 15 k run in the snow at c. -1 degree C and then again about three weeks after I ran a marathon. On both occassions I doubled the dosage of Omega 3, lightened the running to "jogging" with tiny paces and increased cycling. On both occassions after 2 - 3 weeks I was back to normal training again. 
Are interested to know more? 
Please take a look at our website and I would be pleased to answer your questions. 
Posted @ Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:36 PM by Liz Boers-Maynard
This article was not helpful. Most people already understand the reason for runners knee and are now looking for positive and useful solutions.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:33 PM by Shanna
Shanna, here is one such solution from a case study we did using the Arc Trainer to cross train with a marathon runner with knee pain. It was on the Cybex blog a few months ago...
Posted @ Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:31 AM by Scott Moody
dear PAUL , sir its a good highlight on a very common problem faced by many including athletes and leisure exercisers. i am a medical doctor(MBBS ,MD) and our clinic exclusively works with patients with chronic diseases(OBESITY , DIABETS ,IHD , knee OA.)WE USE CYBEX EQUIPMENTS . 
i believe that lack of conditioning , esp of muscles and related structures around knee esp. in non athletes is another contributing factor.
Posted @ Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:01 PM by dr.vikram rajadnya
The blog is so relevant.It can help a lot of people especially to those experiencing Knee Pain.They now know who is the right person to call.Thanks for this blog..Keep on posting.Thanks.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 04, 2011 6:18 AM by Knee Pain
Cooperating with your physician can certainly make facts easier. Do not forget that you have to reply to your doctors concerns, for example the extent and time period of pain. Your doctor might also want to know if you are carrying out a particular exercise before knee painfulness.
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:33 AM by Vanessa Bridges
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