Knee Pain in Runners:
As opposed to football, basketball or soccer players, runners often suffer from overuse knee injuries or repetitive stress injuries. These include stress fractures, stress reactions, tendonitis, meniscal tears, ITB Friction syndrome, and exacerbation of pre-existing arthritis.
Runners knee is a commonly heard term. Runners knee classically involves pain in the front of the knee due to tendonitis. Runners also frequently develop pain on the outer side of their knee due to another form of tendonitis we refer to as ITB syndrome. The pain from tendonitis of the knee will usually come on slowly during the run, and persist after the run for a few hours to a few days. Common causes are worn shoewear, running too often, changing your training routine too rapidly, or simply bad luck. Usually rest will result in relief…. but as someone who treats runners often, they are a tough group to get to rest :-).
Runners are a great group to treat; they will do anything to return to running! But that can also get them in trouble too.
The most worrisome complaint that a runner will have is bone pain. Groin pain in a runner means that you STOP RUNNING … period — Until you are seen by an orthopedist. Groin pain could mean that you have a stress fracture in your hip. Tibial or shin pain may herald a stress fracture of the tibia as well.
The MRI image at left is a hip. The bright white signal was a stress fracture.
If this patient had not “listened” to her body and come in when she did, the stress fracture would have become a complete fracture and surgery would have been necessary.
Runners may continue running with many other ailments — my job is to let you know when it is okay to keep going, and when rest is necessary to prevent further damage.