The Great Birmingham Run is a fantastic event which took place last month and saw over 20,000 runners take part. The course takes in some of Birmingham’s most iconic sights including the Bullring, Edgbaston cricket ground and Cadbury World. Here at The Physiotherapy Partners, we are super proud of everyone that took part and did Birmingham proud during the half-marathon.  

The Physiotherapy Partners know that running can give you both pain and joy. Running is a fantastic activity that is simple, cheap and easy to do. Taking up running can help you keep fit, lose weight and can be a great way to clear your mind. Unfortunately, running injuries are very common, with research suggesting at any one time an estimated 25% of runners will have an injury. Common causes are usually because of changes in your distance, time, intensity, footwear or running technique.  

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is more commonly known as ‘runner’s knee’ and a very common knee injury for any type of runner. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the pain you feel behind your kneecap, where your patella (kneecap) and cartilage in your joint are affected by an imbalance in the muscles surrounding your knee. The pain can typically occur during and after long runs, after extended periods of sitting or while descending hills and stairs.

Symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome include knee pain, especially when you are sitting with your knees bent, squatting, jumping or walking down stairs. The onset of your knee pain is gradual and common during these activities because they involve your knee bending. Knee buckling can also occur which involves your knee unexpectedly giving way and not supporting your body weight fully.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be diagnosed here at The Physiotherapy Partners by our team of talented physiotherapists. The physiotherapist will examine your knee and do a number of tests to determine the cause of your pain. Once you have been diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome and other possibilities have been ruled out your dedicated physiotherapist will work closely with you to set up your tailored rehabilitation program.

Physiotherapy is a very effective method of recovering from patellofemoral pain syndrome because of the hands-on treatment you receive. The length of recovery is fully dependent on your injury and the severity of your pain and each stage of progression will be carefully monitored by your physiotherapist. The aim of your treatment ultimately is to reduce your pain and inflammation in the short term and prevent recurrence by corrected the cause of the injury in the long term.

The first stage of your treatment will work towards that short term goal with pain relief and anti-inflammatory tips. It is important to rest and do your best to avoid activities which are causing severe knee pain. You can use ice to reduce pain and swelling in the area. Protection is also key in this stage and your physiotherapist will also talk through other pain relieving treatments which may be beneficial for you.

The next phase of recovery involves regaining full range of passive motion in your kneecap and knee, before moving on to restoring full muscle length. Your physiotherapist will carefully monitor your recovery in each stage before working with you to move on to the next stage. The third phase of patellofemoral pain syndrome recovery is to normalise your quadriceps muscle balance. In most cases, you may require a specific knee strengthening program and your physiotherapists will recommend and work through the best exercises for you to do so. It is essential to normalise your foot and hip biomechanics as the syndrome may be caused by either of these.

During the final stages of recovery, you will restore high speed, power, and agility to your knee. Your physiotherapists will also guide you in your return to running and work on a number of exercises with you to prevent re-injury. Please remember, all physiotherapy is based on the needs of the individual and it may take you longer to fully recover and return back to running before others. It is important to work closely with your physiotherapists so they can consult you with the best methods of recovery to suit your needs.

If you believe you may be suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome or any other running injury please do not hesitate to book an appointment at one of our three clinics here. Here at The Physiotherapy Partners offer a great range of physiotherapy services and are always at hand to talk through any issues you may have.

Photo credit: Birmingham Mail cc