Are you a runner? Do often have a dull ache located throughout the front of your kneecap that sometimes radiates to the back of the knee? You may have a condition called runners knee. Chondromalacia patellae, also known as runner’s knee, is the condition in which the cartilage on the under-surface of the patella (knee-cap) wears thin or deteriorates and softens. This condition is caused by several factors as in improper alignment of the patella, an imbalance of the muscles surrounding the knee, or even a precondition of flat feet. These factor can all contribute to some wear and tear on your cartilage.
If you have concerns that this could be you, here are some symptoms to keep at look out for. You may have difficulty climbing up and down stairs, or pain while you move from a sitting position to a standing position. You may also develop a grinding and/or cracking sensation with movement of your knees. Finally, be on the look out for swelling that appears around the kneecap that sometimes can cause tightness and limit your mobility.
Now, we all know taking time out of our days to go see a physician can be troubling. Don’t worry, there are some at home elements to try first! Stretching and kneecap specific exercises are a great way to begin your day. You could also try wearing a knee brace strap around the knee to provide stability and pain relief by stimulating some of your nerve fibers throughout your knee. Cryotherapy (ice, cold therapy) and elevating are also great ways to control to pain and swelling elements of this condition.
Try and sleep with your legs stretched out instead of bent as it might help you get a little extra shut eye and prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night with pain. If these tips don’t help don’t sweat it! Surgery is generally the last resort option, and your physicians will try every conservative options before suggesting a trip to the operating room.