Anterior knee pain is one of the most common injuries in the sporting world.
Last week at Coastrek, this statistic seemed right on the mark. Over 50% of the injuries treated by the BJC Health physio team on the day involved anterior knee pain. This is also known as patellofemoral syndrome.
Considering the 60km of uneven surfaces, stairs and wet weather that the Coastrek hikers battled through, it was no surprise that everyone’s knees took a hammering.
So with anterior knee pain being so common, what can you do to get it better?
Pacing: Most people with knee pain find it is made worse with stairs, going up or down ramps and sometimes even walking. When you first start experiencing knee pain, avoid activities that make it feel worse. This will allow the muscles and joint to rest and decrease the irritation.
Massage: Movement at the knee is mainly controlled by the quads, hamstrings and calf. Getting a massage over these areas or doing yourself with a foam roller will help decrease pain and improve joint movement.
Corrective exercises: Pain and/or swelling at the knee will cause the vastus medialis muscle (VMO) to switch off within 48 hours. This will lead to poor control of the knee causing further pain and movement dysfunction. Therefore, is it important to start corrective exercises to restore flexibility at the knee and retrain the strength of the VMO as soon as possible.
Taping: Depending on how it is applied, tape can help decrease joint swelling, improve joint stability and decrease pain. Here is the taping technique we found most effective for our hikers with anterior knee pain last weekend.
If completing Coastrek last week has left you weak at the knees, or you find climbing stairs gives you knee pain, have a go at the suggestions above. If your symptoms continue to persists then it’s time to call your BJC Health physio team for reinforcement.