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What Is Runner's Knee?

Runner's knee is also known as chondromalacia patella or patellofemoral pain syndrome. The condition is marked by damage to the cartilage under your kneecap. 

How Does It Happen?

In general, runner's knee seems to be caused by injuries, bones that are misaligned, or overuse-such as by runners and other athletes. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

There are many conditions that involve knee pain. Runner's knee is usually associated with these symptoms:

  • Knee pain when you kneel or squat
  • Knee pain when you go use stairs
  • Knee pain after sitting with a bent knee for a long time
  • A grating or grinding feeling when you extend your knee 

How Is It Diagnosed?

Since knee pain can result from many conditions, your doctor will use imaging tests after giving you a physical exam. These can include x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT) scans. 

How Is It Treated?

Your doctor may initially suggest that you just rest your knee and try over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also benefit from physical therapy, so you can strengthen the muscles around your knee. Wearing a knee brace or taping your knee can offer added support. You may find that icing your knee after exercise can offer relief. 

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may suggest surgery. In arthroscopy, your doctor can remove damaged cartilage. In other procedures, a surgeon can realign your kneecap to lessen the pressure on the cartilage. 

What Is the Prognosis?

If you require surgery, you may need several weeks to fully recover. If you just require therapy and medication, you may need to take it easy going forward. Talk to your doctor about the need to adopt low-impact exercises that don't put pressure on your knees.


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