A runner's knee - also referred to as Ilio-tibial ligament syndrome (ITBS) - are primarily affected joggers. An overuse of the musculoskeletal system causes them sharp pains in the knee. Partly the symptoms can become so strong that a normal walking is no longer possible. With such complaints, especially a sports break is important. In addition, the knee can also be treated with anti-inflammatory ointments. Learn here what you can do against a runner's knee and how to prevent it.
Overload as a cause
A runner's knee is said to be when the iliotibial tract - a tendon plate - rubs along the protrusion of the thigh. This tendon plate comes from the pelvis and runs on the side of the thigh to the tibial bone. Normally she glides easily past the knee joint. In a runner's knee, however, it repeatedly rubs against the bone - this strains the tissue and can ignite.
A runner's knee is considered the most common cause of pain on the outside of the knee. It occurs mainly in long-distance runners and cyclists. In addition, however, athletes such as basketball players or handball players as well as persons with O-legs can be affected.
The cause of a runner's knee is a misuse or overuse of the musculoskeletal system. The appearance of the symptoms, however, can be favored by various factors. In addition to the O-legs, this primarily includes a weakness of the pelvic stabilizers. This may cause the unstressed hip to sink and create too much tension on the tractus. In addition, however, the following factors also have a negative impact:
- Different leg length
- Shortened muscles on the thigh outside
- Over-supination of the foot
In addition, too fast training and too many fast training sessions come into question as methodical causes. Similarly, exercising on outward sloping roads can also be detrimental.
Symptoms of a runner's knee
The typical symptom of a runner's knee are sharp pains on the outside of the joint. These can be so strong that running is no longer possible and normal walking is clearly limited. As a rule, the pain initially only occurs while running, and later when walking. Likewise, the pain can be noticeable when going downhill or when cycling.
Other symptoms associated with a runner's knee include:
- Swelling of the knee joint
- Overheating of the knee joint
What to do with a runner knee?
A runner's knee can often be diagnosed by a doctor without the use of imaging techniques. It is usually sufficient if the patient describes the symptoms and the doctor then scans the affected area. If the case is ambiguous, a more detailed diagnosis must be made to differentiate the runner's knee from other knee problems such as meniscal damage or arthritis.
Important in the treatment is that the knee is sufficiently protected. As long as pain occurs, you should completely abstain from the training. It is also recommended to cool the knee and use an anti-inflammatory ointment for the painful area. In addition, kinesio tape around the iliotibial tract can help alleviate the pain. For very severe complaints, you can also resort to painkillers.
Nevertheless, if the pain does not resolve after a while, the doctor can relieve the condition with a cortisone syringe. Let yourself be informed about possible risks beforehand. The last treatment option for a runner's knee is an OP. The tractus is cut in and thereby lengthened. Such an intervention is only necessary in very rare cases.
Forecast and history
It can take some time until the pain in a runner's knee diminishes and the irritated condition recedes. Often, however, the injury is completely healed again after two to six weeks. In some cases, however, it may take longer for the symptoms to no longer occur.
Whether and how quickly the pain eases depends largely on your own behavior. It is important that knees do not load too early, otherwise there may be an injury cycle. Do not start again with light training until the typical symptoms have subsided. If you experience pain again while exercising, you should immediately stop the exercise and pause again.
If the knee is not sufficiently protected, a chronic course is possible. This can lead to irreparable damage to the knee causing permanent discomfort. For this reason, absolutely let the injury heal completely.
Exercises for treatment
In an acute runner's knee, the discomfort can be alleviated by stretching the iliotibial band and strengthening the pelvic stabilizers. Among others, the following two exercises are helpful.
- Stretch the outside of the legs: Stand straight and cross your legs by placing your right leg slightly over the left leg. Now stretch your left arm straight and tilt your upper body slowly to the right or right front. Hold the tension for a few seconds and then perform the exercises with the other side of the body.
- Strengthen the pelvic stabilizers: Stand sideways on a step and let one leg hang down slightly. Lower the cymbal on this side and then lift it again. Make sure your knees are stretched. Perform 15 repetitions and then change the page.
To prevent a runner knee
Especially if you are very active in sports and do a lot of running or cycling, you should pay a lot of attention to prevent a runner's knee:
- Perform regular stretching exercises for the tractus. The exercises for treatment are also well suited for prevention.
- Be sure to perform regular strengthening exercises for the abdomen, back and pelvic stabilizers. Suitable exercises for abdomen and back can be found here.
- Always warm up sufficiently before prolonged exposure, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
- Buy good running shoes - you can often prevent complaints. Let us advise you in detail in a sports shop and do a treadmill analysis if necessary. With O-legs you should wear special inserts in your running shoes.