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Runner’s Knee

You go out walking or jogging every day for your health and well being, and what do you get for your troubles? You might get runner's knee.

Man running next to pond

Photo: Nwardez (flickr)

Runners like this man may experience one of the most common injuries: runner's knee

You go out walking or jogging every day for your health and well being, and what do you get for your troubles?

Besides a healthy heart and a longer life, you also get runner’s knee!

The knee is a complicated joint, able to bear your entire weight while flexing and twisting in various ways. It’s also one of the most frequently injured joints in the body, and runner’s knee is the most common knee injury.

Runner’s knee occurs when your kneecap gets slightly out of alignment with the rest of the joint.

Let’s take a closer look at your knee. The knee is where your thigh bone meets the shin bones of your lower leg. The whole arrangement is held together by strong muscles, tendons and ligaments, kind of like strong rubber bands. Your kneecap is a piece of freely moving bone that rests on top of this arrangement and protects it. Ordinarily, it slides up and down in a groove at the end of your thigh bone as you flex and extend your leg. In fact, you can put your hand on your knee as you move your leg, and feel your kneecap sliding up and down.

Runner’s knee occurs when your kneecap gets slightly off center, and starts rubbing painfully into the end of your thigh bone.

The problem actually starts with your foot. If your foot rolls inward as you walk or run, this gives a funny angle to your shin bone which, in turn, pushes your kneecap out of alignment. That’s why runner’s knee can often be treated with arch supports or other shoe inserts that correct your stride.

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