Runners Knee Injuries
Chondromalacia and Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I-T)

Chondromalacia, or runners knee

Chondromalacia, or runners knee, is a sport injuries creepy pain... it moves up on you very slowly. Read this article to know the symptoms, causes, how prevent it and how treat it. 

Symptoms - pain or tenderness close to or under the patellar or knee cap at the front or side of the knee. Pain is gradual, increases over several weeks, usually in one leg. The Patellaís cartilage--under the kneecap--wears away; it becomes sandpaper like, often makes a grinding sound as it no longer rides smoothly over the knee. 

Causes - Running on a camber--the slope at the side of the road, or if a large part of mileage is across the slope of a hill; long runs; not warming up properly; tight, weak or fatigued quadriceps; tight, overly strong hamstrings; kneeling; going up and down stairs or hills; sitting still for long periods; cycling; overpronation. And sorry people...running too hard, or too much, too early (in the training cycle). Rushed morning or lunch-time runs without a warmup can cause it. 

Prevention - Stabilize the foot with well-fitting shoes; use foam, heel and or arch supports to improve fit. Avoid cambers; run on a variety of soft surfaces; try pointing the toe slightly to keep the kneecap in position. Avoid downhills. Reduce the cycling element of your training, or go higher cadence with lower resistance. Do a complete warmup including quadriceps strengthening exercises; donít allow the quads to get more than 50 percent stronger than the hamstrings. Stretch the hamstrings, quads and calves. Avoid deep knee bends. 

Treatment - Run if you catch the problem early; experiment with the above to find the cause. High intake of vitamin C may help. Aspirin three time a day for three months can block cartilage breakdown, but donít risk your intestines unless youíre also going to find the cause. Seek medical advice. X-rays may be needed to check the wear of the joint surfaces. When swelling is down, strengthen the quads. Orthotics may help. Swim or pool run. A rubber sleeve with a hole for the kneecap helps many--donít use this device as an excuse to avoid quad exercises and stretching.



Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I-T)

Sometimes spelled Ileotibial, this syndrome is simply a pain on the outside of the knee. Except that the pain may show itself anywhere up to the hip. Read this article to know the symptoms, causes, how prevent it and how treat it. 

Symptoms - pain usually increases gradually on a run; it may cease afterwards.

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Causes - This strong band goes from the muscle at the outside and front of the pelvis (tensor facia latae muscle), down the thigh to insert at the shin. Where it passes by the knee, cushioning small sacs of fluid stop it rubbing against the bone. The sacs or the band may become inflamed - typically by: running down hills; a change in surface or training; excessive foot movements; running on cambered surfaces; bow legs; overpronation; worn out shoes; worn out body--(overtraining) tightness in the band; unequal quad strength, or leg length differences predispose you to I-T. 

Prevention - make changes in the type of training slowly. Avoid hill reps on a camber; avoid tight bends. Do the I-T stretches; and stretch the other major muscles. Strengthen the weak quad with straight leg raises and leg extensions. Podiatrist to check if a special insert for the shoes would help. 

Treatment - Attack the cause, but back off the mileage and take anti-inflammatory drugs. ICE it often. Cortisone may help relieve the bursa; or the inflamed area can be removed. To decrease both types of knee insult, donít do stair climbing in rehab. Remember the top end of the band--It can cause problems, too.


Other common runners injuries:
Shin Splints, Compartment Syndrome & Stress Fracture of the shin bone (tibia)
Common foot injuries & cures

Related articles:
Why do runners get stress fractures?
Retuning to running after stress fracture or other major injury,
long runs, stretching

Thanks David Holt for the permission to reprint this article
Text copyright © by David Holt -

This article has informational purpose and  isn't a substitute for professional advice.

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