Runner's knee is one of the most annoying injuries you can develop as a runner. The soreness comes and goes. As soon as you think you've recovered, it comes back again. If you just run through the injury or cut back your mileage for a while, it can take months to get rid of this ailment. Thankfully, there is another option — physical therapy. Here are some ways that a physical therapist can help you recover from runner's knee.
Quad Stretch Exercises
Runner's knee is usually linked to tight quads. When your quads are tight, they pull on your knee with every stride, and this eventually leads to runner's knee. If you do not take steps to loosen up your quads, runner's knee will keep worsening and coming back. A physical therapist can guide you through a series of quad stretches that you can do before and after every workout to keep your quads limber and your knees out of pain.
Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises
Another contributor to runner's knee is weak hip flexors. When your hip flexors are not able to draw your leg forward as well as they should, you put more strain on your knees with every stride. Your physical therapist will show you some simple bodyweight exercises to strengthen your hip flexors. Certain types of lunges and squats, for instance, can be really beneficial. This won't cure your runner's knee overnight, but it will promote healing and keep the injury from returning.
Massage can be really helpful for runner's knee. You don't want to massage the knee itself, but rather the muscles that attach to it. This keeps them limber so they're not putting extra strain on your knee. Your physical therapist will likely perform some massage while you're in their office, but they will also teach you how to do some self-massage.
Runners who over-extend and take too long of strides are at a higher risk of developing runner's knee. Those who tend to collapse their upper bodies as they run are also at a higher risk. Your physical therapist may watch you run and give you some tips for improving your form in a way that reduces strain on your knees and allows them to heal.
If you have been dealing with a stubborn case of runner's knee, see a physical therapist. As you can see, there are plenty of ways that these practitioners can help you.