The majority of knee pain, particularly amongst runners, is classified as patello-femoral pain.
Patello-femoral pain is characterised by a dull ache, and sometimes sharp pain, under the kneecap. The knee may grate or grind. It becomes worse with use, or if the knee is kept in a bent position for extended periods of time.
Patello-femoral pain is caused by a malalignment of the kneecap—similar to a cars tyres being out of alignment. If the muscle on the inside of the leg is weak, and the band on the outside is tight, the kneecap is pulled laterally (to the side), causing grating under the kneecap. Pelvic instability is also a leading cause.
So if the muscle on the inside of the leg is weak (the vastus medialis obliquus, or VMO), it needs to be strengthened, along with the muscles of the hip (specifically those involved in laterally rotating the femur, or turning the toes out). This can be achieved simply by completing a theraband squat (click for description).
To release the ITB, a thick 'seatbelt-like' band on the outside of the leg, use a foam roller to attack it (click for description). It wont feel good, but your knees will thank you.
Complete these two exercises every day, and balance your 'tyres'.
As 'The Sunscreen Song' tells us, 'Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone'.
Director - Range of Motion
Accredited Exercise Physiologist