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River Run training tips: Pain around kneecap is common, very treatable

H2 Health tells us some common muscles that cause problems for runners as the Gate River Run approaches.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Each week leading up to the Gate River Run on March 20, H2 Health will provide tips for runners. This is the sixth of nine segments.

It’s one of the most common injuries that runners and walkers encounter.

A pain in the front of, below or behind the kneecap when walking, running or bending the leg. Or the pain could be on the side of the knee.

The pain can vary from sharp and throbbing to dull and constant.

Runner’s knee or jumper’s knee, two different but similar conditions, often fall into a larger ailment known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Pain on the side of the knee likely involve a different issue with the band of tendons and ligaments known as the IT band, or Iliotibial Band.

Alexis Heather, the clinical director and a physical therapist at H2 Health Beaches location, said that a routine, yet painful injury for runners and walkers is right in the middle of the leg.

These injuries are very common, but Heather said they are highly treatable. Running or walking shouldn’t be painful.

Week 1: Pay attention to those hamstrings

Week 2: It sounds simple, but make sure your gear is the right fit

Week 3: Astym, cupping are excellent recovery therapies

Week 4: Treadmill work can help in rehab or after a run

Week 5: Foam rolling is easy, effective way of stretching muscles

“One of the first things that we see in runners, a really common pain is in the front of the knee around the kneecap,” Heather said.

“So, this is commonly known as runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, also called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. So, people typically complain of a dull achy pain right along the front of the kneecap. It can also range from pretty sharp and debilitating pain as well. Usually, some clicking, and popping with exercise or activity. You can also get some pain after sitting for a long time.”

Treatments range from physical therapy to using orthotics or ice for the swelling.

The IT band issue is a very common issue as well, but Heather said the difference is the location of the pain. That typically occurs on the outer portion of the leg.

“When people have problems here, it usually is from rubbing or friction that is created between the knee and the band of tissue there. They usually present as a sharp pain right above the knee along the outside. Pain usually gets worse when you bend the knee, when you run when you jump when you go up or down inclines,” Heather said. “And this is usually caused by just over tightness or weakness of that hip muscle or that iliotibial band. So, just remember that running doesn’t have to be painful.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.