Not all of us can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least try. Actually, famously, NO ONE can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds except-
That means there are a lot of people out there, the global population minus one, trying to shave milliseconds off their sprint or minutes off their marathon. As a chiropractor for knee pain, I know that running is an incredible form of exercise, and there are few things better for our bodies than exercise. I also know that running can be hard on the body.
It’s a bit of a misnomer because “runner’s knee” does not exclusively affect runners. In fact, it is one of the leading exercise-related injuries, even more common than IT band issues, plantar fasciitis, meniscus injuries, bursitis, or shin splints. So sorry to those of us who thought they could skip over this entry because they haven’t so much as walked at a brisk pace since middle school P.E.
This isn’t a PSA to stop running, either. There is a crazy amount of evidence, and I mean crazy, that vigorous exercise, including running, reduces the risk of liability later in life and increases the chances of living longer.
What is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s knee causes inflammation and joint pain in the knee’s connective tissue. It’s more a collection of pain symptoms than a specific injury. Pain can present itself below the knees, behind the knees, or where the knee meets the thigh. Anywhere it wants, really. Through overuse and repetitive motions, the knee’s connective tissue can loosen or over-stretch and throw off the healthy alignment of the joint.
The knee bears a lot of body weight, making it prone to injury. Plus, as we age, we lose cartilage which affects knee joint health. Knowing this, it’s important to know some natural runner’s knee treatments to reduce your symptoms.
Causes of Runner’s Knee
- Poor exercise form
- Exercising on uneven surfaces
- Worn out shoes
- Not stretching
- Aggravating old injuries
- Going too hard, too fast
- Muscle imbalances
- High body mass index
- History of arthritis
Symptoms of Runner’s Knee
- Trouble walking
- Throbbing pain in one or both knees
- Tenderness and swelling
- Popping or clicking
Whether a runner or not, this type of pain is hard on everyone, it makes running, dancing, Captain Morgan posing, and jazz squaring a misery. It’s why my parents want to downsize to a single-level house. The only time I’ve ever seen my mother run was when she accidentally unearthed a bee hive while doing yard work. She’s faster than any of us expected, especially the bees.
Much love to my mom.
Steroid injections, the conventional treatment for runner’s knee, are less than ideal. They might dull the throbbing pain and swelling for a spell, but they don’t do anything to fix the underlying problem. No one wants to jab a needle in their leg only to have the pain return as soon as they hear the opening phrase of Cotton Eye Joe.
I much prefer natural knee pain treatments that get to the bottom of what’s really going on to prevent pain and injury in the future. Speaking of…
Natural Treatments for Runner’s Knee
Stretch and Strengthen
Weak quadriceps and tight hamstrings are often responsible for knee pain. Weak quads place more pressure on the knees and hamstrings, forcing the body to compensate in ways it doesn’t appreciate.
Now the whole body has to suffer because of the sins of the thighs. The best ways to strengthen and stretch weak and tight muscles are:
- Lunges and squats
- Side leg lifts and glute bridges
- Swimming and water aerobics
- Light cycling
- Standing with straight legs and bending from the hips to touch the toes
- While standing, bend one knee and grab for the ankle
- Laying down, bend both knees in the air, cross one ankle over the opposite knee, pull the thigh to release the hip
And as always, focus on good posture when running, exercising, or just living life.
As we’ve previously addressed, we’re not going to win any medals here; there’s no need to be a hero.
Rest and recovery are just as important to exercise as good form, HIIT, increasing the weight, and the right Lululemon top. Without enough time for either, we increase the risk of injury. Here are a few signs it’s time to take a chill pill (the only pill I recommend taking):
- Pain starts during or immediately after a run or exercise
- The pain stops when the running stops
- The pain was so bad that the workout had to end early
All of this seems like a big-
Collagen is filled with anti-aging effects and is vital to tissue repair. Our diets don’t contain as much collagen as our ancient ancestors. Increasing our collagen intake and devouring an anti-inflammatory diet (see below) will make our joints so thankful.
Not enough people associate a poor diet with joint pain, but nutrient deficiency contributes to deterioration, inflammation, reduced blood flow, and…aging.
An anti-inflammatory diet is stuffed with all the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and electrolytes our musculoskeletal system needs to heal naturally. Our system craves a diet filled with:
Green leafy vegetables
- Bok choy
- Bone broth
- Wild-caught fish
- Coconut and olive oil
- Green tea
It’s time to put on our chef’s hat and make Padma proud.
Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue therapies don’t require injections and help heal chronic pain. It’s a win-win! These therapies can reduce muscle tension, increase blood flow to damaged tissue, correct posture, and help rebuild new tissue.
We are skilled in both Active Release Technique and the Graston Technique. These techniques not only work to alleviate knee pain, but they’re also game-changers for:
- Low back pain
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tension headaches
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Frozen shoulder
- Tennis elbow
Chiropractic Care for Knee Pain
I’m not trying to be one of those annoying nags, but correcting form and posture does wonders for not just joint health but your overall health. Relieving stress placed on vulnerable joints reduces nerve irritation and the compensations our body is forced to make for poor posture.
Chiropractors know that posture is the window to our health. Misalignments in the hips, pelvis, ankles, or feet can have massive repercussions throughout the body, disrupting normal movement, triggering pain, and interfering with proper nerve function. By locating and correcting these misalignments with a chiropractic adjustment, we can restore proper range of motion, provide pain relief, and put a stop to the nervous system dysfunction whose ramifications could be far more dangerous than a sore knee.
Give us a call or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors. We want to address the limitations slowing people down so we can unlock their full potential and give Usain a run for his money.