Runner's knee is pain around and sometimes behind the kneecap. It is one of the most common injuries among runners, runner's knee most often strikes as runners approach forty miles per week for the first time. Even after taking a few days off, the pain seems to come right back, sometimes even intensifying, after the first few miles of the next run. The pain often feels worst when running downhill or walking down stairs, and the knee is often stiff and sore after sitting down for long periods. You might hear a crunching or clicking sound when you bend or extend your knee.
The test for runner's knee: sit down and put your leg out on a chair so that it's stretched out straight. Have a friend squeeze your leg just above the knee while pushing on the kneecap. She should push from the outside of the leg toward the center. At the same time, tighten your thigh muscle. If this is painful, you're looking at runner's knee.
Treatment for runner's knee is as follows: First, relieve the pain by icing your knees immediately after running. You can use commercially available cold packs or simply put a wet towel in the freezer before you run. Wrap the cold packs around each knee for about fifteen minutes to bring down the swelling. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or aspirin after running, too, but only with food and never before running. Before bed, put heating pads or warm wet towels on your knees for half an hour.
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