Knee pain can put a downer on your everyday life and makes you realise how much you use your knees; getting in and out of the car, going up stairs and if you love to exercise, knee pain can really ruin your day!
How do you fix knee pain? It depends on the reason for the knee pain in the first place. Let’s talk about a very common form of knee pain patella femoral pain syndrome (PFPS)
If you, or someone you know, have suddenly increased or started exercise and have gotten pain in the front of the knee, it is possible you have PFPS. What can you do to manage this?
Well first of all make sure that you stop or reduce the activities that irritated the knee in the first place.
Then we can start to address a common cause of PFPS- imbalance of muscles. Often the lateral quadriceps muscle (VL) gets overly tight pulling the knee cap side ways, causing it to rub against the bone underneath (it sits in a track).
This is often compounded by a week medial quadriceps who’s job it is to counter the pull of the VL (perhaps you have heard of the VMO?). The VMO actually switches off and gets smaller when you get ongoing knee pain, making the problem worse as the knee cap is pulled further to the side out of the grove, causing more friction and pain.
What are some simple exercises that can help? To start off with you could roll the VL out with a foam roller or do one of the quad stretches shown here. Roll out ten to twenty times per day.
You can also stretch the VL by doing this stretch below. Hold for 30 seconds repeat both sides two times. You can do this two or three times per day.
This will be a good start to reducing the pain, but it will not address the original cause of the problem. This is a biomechanical injury and often arises from a problem elsewhere in the body; for example you might have a collapsing foot on that side that causes the knee to roll in, or the glute muscles are weak causing the hip and knee to collapse in.
Finding the cause of the injury will be key, so seeing a physio find the issue will be very important to resolve the injury. This condition resolves with the right management and understanding why your knee pain has come on will be important to make sure it stays well managed going forwards.