Austin is consistently listed among the best cities in the nation for those preferring an active lifestyle. A moderate climate, miles of nature trails and numerous paved routes make ATX and its surrounding areas particularly attractive for runners. Our city even hosts to more than 100 races each year!
While this is great news for those of us seeking a runner’s high, it means many locals come to us for knee pain, including runner’s knee.
What is Runner’s Knee?
Like tennis (or golf) elbow, runner’s knee is an overuse injury that results from repetitive stress on the same joint over time. As the name would suggest, running is a common cause of this injury, but it’s not the only one. Walking, cycling, jumping and team sports that include a lot of running can also stress the knee joint to the point of injury.
The problem occurs when the kneecap gets out of alignment and begins rubbing against the bones underneath it. What may start as a slight discomfort between the kneecap and the thighbone as the tendons and soft tissues of the knee first become irritated, can elevate to severe pain as the condition progresses, eventually sidelining you from the activities you enjoy. At that point, just walking, climbing stairs or even sitting for a long time with the knees bent can be painful.
In the early stages, ice, pain relievers and stretching may offer enough relief to allow you to maintain your exercise program. Once the condition has progressed, however, many end up trading in their training for a spot on the couch. Ouch.
Body alignment issues have many potential causes, meaning while the pain may be centered around your knee, the problem may actually originate elsewhere. Through chiropractic exams and adjustments, we often discover that a misalignment in the spine, or skeletal issues in the hips, ankles or feet, have resulted in the muscles surrounding the knee being unable to absorb the impact of running and jumping as intended, knocking the kneecap out of line.
We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from being physically active — quite the opposite! But whether a marathoner or just a weekend pavement pounder, we want our fitness-minded patients to consider chiropractic care as a means of alleviating and even preventing pain resulting from running workouts.
If you suffer from the pain we’ve described, or just worry that your running regimen could lead to runner’s knee, give us a call. Through chiropractic manipulation, we can address alignment issues and offer relief from knee pain, possibly even before it starts!