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The knee joint is made up of three bones, which are the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (knee cap). The two vital actions of the knee are flexion and extension. Flexion of the knee is caused by the hamstrings muscle group, which lie along the back of the thigh bone. Extension of the knee is caused by the quadriceps muscles, which are four muscle bodies that come together to form the quadriceps tendon on the front side of the thigh bone. This quadriceps tendon inserts into the top of the patella. The tendinous tissue then continues from the bottom of the patella is referred to as the patellar tendon and inserts into the superior part of the tibia in the front of the knee region. The medial or inner most quadriceps muscle is the vastus medialis, which includes a small portion of fibers that are referred to as the vastus medialis oblique. This group of fibers is often a contributing factor to many knee problems, since it is the muscle that holds the patella in proper alignment from the medial side. In addition to the muscles, there are also 4 ligaments and 2 menisci that help to form this complex joint.
What Causes Runner’s Knee?
This condition can be caused by a combination of different factors, but basically, all these factors lead to the same outcome, which is an irritation of soft tissue structures, usually at the front of the knee. This irritation is usually caused by a strain of the soft tissues, which can be due to an injury, malalignment of the patella, or biomechanical issues caused by tightness, imbalance, or weakness of the muscles involved with knee motion. These muscular imbalances lead to the abnormal distribution of forces throughout the knee, which can eventually lead to a failure of the soft tissue structures. For example, commonly the knee becomes overworked, which leads to minor irritation or inflammation within the joint. This process inhibits the vastus medialis oblique muscle from functioning properly. When this occurs, it causes the lateral soft tissue structures to become tighter and actually pulls the patella laterally away from the midline of the joint. Since the patella is then sitting more laterally, it is said to be malaligned and actually further aggravates the situation because it is not gliding along its normal path during knee movement. If this situation isn’t addressed, it can eventually lead to more joint dysfunction, such as osteoarthritis.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most individuals experience a dull, aching pain under or around the front of the patella. It most commonly occurs when they are involved in activities such as walking up stairs, kneeling, squatting, or sitting with knee bent for a long period of time.
Individuals that are overweight put additional strain on the knee structures, which will increase their chances of developing this condition. Those that are in shape can have an increase chance of developing this condition for many reasons. One reason is a sudden change in the intensity or duration of their activity. For runners, if they are not using proper running form or proper shoes, they may also have an increased chance of developing this condition.
What Can Lake Marion Chiropractic Do for You?
At Lake Marion Chiropractic Center, we will begin by assessing the condition using movement pattern screens, which may even include observing the individual walking or running. By visually analyzing the way a person moves, we get a better idea of where the imbalances are located so that a specific treatment plan can be developed to fix the problem. A combination of chiropractic care, advanced soft tissue techniques, corrective exercises, and nutrition will be used to address the cause of your injury.