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What is a running knee?


This diagnosis is also called runner's knee and the medical term for running knee is iliotibial band syndrome ITBS or tract iliotibialistendinitis. Tractus iliotibialis is a connective tissue strip that extends vertically along the outside of the thigh and passes the outside of the knee to then attach to the outside / front of the tibia. Where the tendon passes above the knee joint, there is a lump (lateral femoral condyle) against which friction can occur when bending and stretching the knee repeatedly under load as when running. This friction can lead to pain from inside the tract or from the mucous sac found here and cause pain on the outside of the knee.


Why do you get a running knee?


This diagnosis is most common in endurance sports, especially running but also cycling. As with so many other ailments, a common reason is that you have increased your training too hard and / or rested your knee too little. Running training on one side of a country road where the road surface normally slopes slightly to the side for drainage of rainwater, can trigger pain on the outside of the knee. A lot of back training can lead to running knees.

Other reasons for getting a running knee:

  • High or low arches.

  • If you run the pelvis a lot laterally when running.

  • Wheelbase

  • Leg length difference

  • Shoes that are not optimal for one's physique.

Symptoms of running knees?


Initial pain on the outside of the knee that comes during the workout and releases after the end of the activity. If you drive despite the pain, the pain can intensify, become sharper and start pulling up in the outside thighs and sometimes down in the lower leg. You start to get sore even after the activity is over. Pain when standing up after sitting for a long time is common. In some cases, swelling may occur on the outside of the knee. Pain when pressing on the outside of the knee.


Treatment of running knees?


Our physiotherapists first try to determine the cause of the problem together with the patient. Then usually a temporary break from the causal activity. We review whether there are purely anatomical sub-causes of the pain (see "why do you get a running knee"). To strengthen the diagnosis, we can carry out one  ultrasound examination  in case of suspicion of running knees. This is often dealt with  shock wave therapy  to speed up healing. If necessary, anatomical shoe insoles are recommended to support any misalignment of the foot or knee.  Rehabilitation training  started when needed to strengthen and improve coordination and mobility. If it is running the patient wants back to, one is often performed  medical running analysis  to optimize the running step and minimize the risk of relapse.

In difficult cases, the doctor may try to inject cortisone into the affected tendon or mucosa. In a few cases, an operation is performed where the iliotibial tract is lengthened .

Forecast for running knees?


The forecast is very good. An estimated figure is that over 90% of those affected recover with the help of non-surgical treatment. Depending on how extensive the injury is and how well the patient takes care of the rehabilitation, we usually cure this diagnosis in between 1-3 months.

Differential diagnoses


External meniscus injury, osteoarthritis outside knee, injury to the outer collateral ligament, injury to the distal part of the biceps femoris, patellofemoral impact laterally.


Physiotherapy at Alta Vita Physiotherapy

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