Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise. It’s great for your overall fitness, promotes weight loss, helps prevent cardiovascular disease, fights diabetes, and on and on. Today, it seems there are more marathons, half marathons, and 5Ks and 10Ks than ever before.

However, running can cause injuries, especially to your lower extremities. And while runners of all levels and distances risk hurting themselves, it’s been reported that as many as 90 percent of those training for marathons become injured.   

What is PFPS?

PFPS is knee pain caused when the back of the kneecap (the patella) comes into contact with the femur (thigh bone). It can be mildly discomforting or it can be severe. Onset can be gradual or sudden. It is primarily associated with runners, but cyclists, basketball players, and other athletes are at risk, too.

"Thousands of people with Runner’s Knee either run through the pain and risk further damage or give up the sport altogether. Neither has to be the case. We can help them get through PFPS and get back on the road." - Craig O'Neil, Results VP of Learning and Affiliation

What are the symptoms?

PFPS usually begins as a deep ache or sharp pain on either side of the kneecap or on the front of the knee. In advanced cases, you may feel grinding or hear popping in the kneecap. Sometimes the knee gives way altogether. One of the frustrations of PFPS is that it can be difficult to tell exactly where the pain is coming from. It can be worse when going up or down stairs, squatting, sitting for a long time, or getting up after sitting for an extended period.   

What causes PFPS?

It’s a complex condition caused by a variety of things. The most common is poor tracking of the kneecap on the femur. This can have several causes: imbalance in the thigh muscles, poor foot biomechanics, or weakness in the gluteal muscles at the hip. All of those cause abnormal movement of the knee and kneecap.

How is PFPS treated? 

Physical Therapy is the optimal form of treatment. The factors that caused PFPS are identified, then addressed through corrective exercises, therapy, and orthotics. Hip and quadriceps muscles can be re-educated so that stress on the knee is reduced. If poor biomechanics are a factor, modification of footwear or supportive orthotics can be implemented. Rest or modified activity may be necessary to let inflammation settle and therapy take effect. 

"I was amazed at how simple the fix was (for PFPS at Results Physiotherapy). It was just a matter of my therapist looking at my stride and helping me make the proper adjustments."

How does Results treat PFPS?"

Our goal is to get every runner back to pre-injury status as quickly as possible. So after evaluation and diagnosis, a custom rehabilitation plan is created for every patient. This will usually include hands-on, manual therapy, the approach Results pioneered and has used to help thousands of patients over the last 20 years.

Our recovery plans often include a home exercise component to maximize and maintain results and prevent recurrence of injury.

For all runners, it is important to be fully recovered from an injury prior to running any race, particularly a marathon. For runners with less experience, a graduated training program that avoids sudden increases in running load or intensity is best, as the risk of injury increases after a threshold of 40 miles/week is crossed.

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