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Pain in your knee? Look to the hip!

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Added on March 15, 2017
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If you are a high-level runner, or a female athlete involved in high intensity sports involving lots of running, your chances may be higher of having pain in your knee from a specific condition called 'runner's knee', or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Athletes or highly active individuals that participate in activities involving jumping may also be susceptible to this common injury.

 

From a 'body-mechanics' perspective, there are many things that can cause PFPS, among which involve the position of the knee cap (patella) being altered due to weakness in musculature surrounding the knee, but also the hip. As our bodies don't really function in isolation, many components of our muscular systems can be involved in normal joint movement, and the knee is no exception. Even for individuals who are highly athletic and in terrific cardiovascular and physical shape, an imbalance in musculature between the hip and knee or a weakness of hip and knee musculature can allow problems to persist involving improper movement of your knee cap over the bones underneath.

 

Often times, one overlooked portion of the muscular system with individuals with PFPS are the muscles on the outsides sides of the hip, called your 'abductor' musculature. The gluteus medius is a smaller muscle than its more well known neighbor, the gluteus maximus, but it has a very important role in hip stabilization during running activities, and weakness in these muscles can have a negative effect on proper knee position during running over a period of time.

Physical therapy is often among the first prescribed treatments for PFPS, and should involve a specific treatment plan involving dynamic soft tissue flexibility and strengthening protocols that are specially geared towards each individual as is necessary.

 

As always, symptoms of knee pain may come from a variety of sources and you should always consult a medical professional before starting any form of treatment or specific intervention, such as your family doctor, local orthopaedist, and/or physical therapist to properly diagnose a movement dysfunction. With some patience, as well as hard work, improving both knee and hip strength can alleviate many of the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

 

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