Chiropractic Treatment for Knee Pain & Runner’s Knee

Dr. Baj has extensive experience as a sports chiropractor and has treated runners of all kinds including professional athletes, weekend runners, New Trier, Loyola, and ETHS athletes, and more. As a former athlete and youth coach, his interest in sports and helping people get back on the field is one of the reasons he became a chiropractor. Below is an overview of one of the most common sports injuries we see at Kenilworth Chiropractic – runner’s knee.

What is Runner’s Knee?

Many athletes experience some sort of knee pain even though they did not experience a big “injury”, especially athletes in sports that require a lot of running such as soccer, track & field, basketball, cross country, or someone who frequently runs in the morning or after work.

This injury is often referred to as runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. It occurs when patients have dull pain around their patella, in the front of their knee. Patients with runner’s knee often feel a variety of symptoms such as knee pain after running, a kneecap that is tender to the touch, a rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound in the kneecap when the knee is bent or straightened, or just general knee pain.

What is the Cause of My Knee Pain?

Runner’s knee can be caused by a variety of issues such as the following (see full list at Johns Hopkins Medicine):

  • A kneecap that is too high in the knee joint
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Poor foot support

Treatment for Runner’s Knee

The treatment for your runner’s knee will depend on the cause or causes of the pain, which your chiropractor can help you identify. Below is a high level overview of how a chiropractor would treat your knee pain based on the source of the knee pain. 

  • Weak Muscles: If the cause is driven by weak muscles (which is typically weak thigh muscles) then your chiropractor develops a custom exercise regimen for you that you can do at home to strengthen your muscles, relieve the pain, and prevent the pain from coming back.
  • Tight Muscles: If the cause of your runner’s knee is tight hamstrings, achilles tendons, or other muscles, your chiropractor will recommend specific stretches that will lengthen those muscles, eliminate the pain, and allow you to continue to run without it coming back.
  • Multiple Causes: We often find that runner’s knee, especially bad cases of runner’s knee, are caused by a mix that includes some or all of the issues mentioned above. After an initial exam, we are able to identify the cause or causes and develop a custom plan that includes both muscle strengthening and muscle stretching, and helps our patients get back on their feet and on the field as quickly as possible.

At Home Treatment for Runner’s Knee

If you think you have runner’s knee and want to try a few exercises at home to see if they can help, Runner’s World has a good guide to both strength exercises and stretches you can try. If these exercises do not work, or if they are not able to help you fully recover, call us or set up an appointment with us and Dr. Baj and his team can develop a custom treatment plan that will relieve your knee pain and get you back running.

Are you struggling with knee pain? Talk to a chiropractor today!