Debunking 5 Common Myths About Runner's Knee

Runner's knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is common among those with repetitive knee movements. It can be caused by factors like muscle imbalances, biomechanical issues, or overuse. To better manage this condition, let's address 5 common myths about runner's knee.

Myth 1: Runner's Knee Is Just for Runners?

Despite the name, anyone with repetitive knee movements, like walking, cycling, jumping or daily activities, can develop runner's knee. It's not limited to runners, although they are at higher risk due to knee stress.

Myth 2: Pain Is the Only Symptom?

Pain is not the sole indicator. Other symptoms include crepitus (a crackling or popping sensation when moving the knee), swelling, stiffness, and a sensation of the knee giving way. Additionally, individuals with runner's knee may experience pain not only during physical activity but also during prolonged sitting, kneeling, or squatting.

Myth 3: Rest Alone Is the Best Fix?

Resting your knees is a common treatment for runner's knee, but it's not the only answer. Prolonged inactivity can weaken muscles and make things worse. Physical therapy is crucial for addressing runner's knee. It targets the root causes, boosts muscle strength, and corrects biomechanical issues. A structured exercise plan often works better than complete rest in the long run.

Myth 4: Surgery is the primary solution

Surgery is not usually the first line of treatment for Runner's Knee, Doctors often prioritize non-surgical treatment. In many cases, alternative approaches such as physiotherapy, appropriate exercise, and lifestyle modifications can effectively address the condition. Surgical intervention is typically considered when less invasive methods have been explored and proved inefficient, particularly in severe and persistent cases.

Myth 5: Patients with Runner’s Knee should avoid weight-bearing exercises

In fact, moderate weight-bearing training can be beneficial for individuals with Runner's Knee. Studies, including those by Felson et al. (2007), debunk the belief that running is harmful to the knees and suggest that weight-bearing exercises like running can effectively prevent knee joint degeneration. The key is to choose suitable weight-bearing activities and weights to avoid excessive pressure on the knee joints. Thus, after symptom improvement, individuals with Runner's Knee may consider incorporating weight-bearing exercises such as running, brisk walking, and squats to strengthen muscles and enhance joint stability.

However, due to individual variations, if you are suffering from Runner's Knee, it is advisable to consult a doctor or physiotherapist to ensure you receive the most suitable treatment, including the development of an appropriate exercise plan for safe and effective recovery.