If you suffer from knee pain, you’re certainly not alone. This is very common and there are a number of different types. This article focuses on Patello-Femoral Syndrome or Chondromalacia Patellae, which is often referred to as “runner’s knee”.
Knee discomfort is something that can afflict people of all ages and levels of physical activity. It is essential to get an early diagnosis for the knee pain you are experiencing in order to gain a comprehensive comprehension of the structures that are truly contributing to the discomfort you are experiencing in your knee.
Knee pain is a common occurrence and there are different types of it as well. One of them is Patello-femoral Syndrome or Chondromalacia Patellae (also known as Runner’s Knee). Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Disorder, Patella Tendinitis and Bursitis are the less common ones. Osgood-Schlatter Disease is another form of knee pain that occurs only in children and adolescents.
For well over a decade Footlogics has been a sought-after name for the development and supply of orthotics for knee pain treatment. We have a wide range of orthotics and insoles to suit customers in need of extra support and comfort when playing sport, exercising, or just in their day-to-day life. Footlogics orthotics will also help to promote better health and wellbeing overall, and can even reduce the risk of knee issues in the future.
What are the symptoms of Patello-Femoral Syndrome?
Characterized by pain between the kneecap (patella) and underlying bone (femur), Patello-Femoral Syndrome, also called Anterior Knee Pain, is the most common form of chronic knee pain. The front of the knee is tender and people who suffer from this condition often experience a grinding or crunching sensation in the joint. Pain is at its worst when you first get up from a chair, climb a set of stairs or begin to move again after a long period of rest. Typical signs of this condition are:
- pain at the front of the knee
- occasional knee buckling
- catching, popping, or grinding sensation
Knee Pain - Causes
Your knee pain can be attributed to a number of factors such as sports injuries or trauma from an accident. But in most cases, general wear and tear is the primary cause of knee pain and is unfortunately part of the degenerative aging process. Over time, the cartilage behind your kneecap softens and wears out, which results in soft tissue tears and breaks. Even if you are still relatively young, years of strenuous activity including running, cycling, soccer, rugby or general labour can affect your knees and accelerate the erosion of knee cartilage.
Knee Pain - Causes
Knee pain can occur due to many reasons and the most common ones are:
- Sports injury
- Sudden joint trauma
- Wear and tear or the normal degenerative process of ageing
The cartilage behind the knee cap (patella) softens and starts to wear out over time which results in small areas of the soft tissue breaking down and tearing away. Under normal conditions the knee cap would glide over the knee smoothly. In case of this problem the knee cap instead of gliding smoothly, rubs against the thigh bone or the femur. This is due to the damage caused and roughening that has occurred over the years. This constant grinding causes pain in your knees while walking or moving from one place to the other or when you get up from a chair, etc. It also leads to erosion of the knee cartilage (partial or complete), which causes pain and swelling.
Activities that will make knee pain worse...
- Strenuous labor (on construction or building sites)
- Sitting in the bent-knee position
- Kneeling for long
In addition to the contributory factors listed above, the biomechanics of your foot also play a significant role in Patello-Femoral pain. The vast majority of health practitioners claim that the positioning of our feet, and therefore, the way we walk, has a profound effect on our lower back, leg, hip and knee function.
Did you know that approximately 70% of people suffer from over-pronation? This is a foot condition where a lowering of the arch and an inward rolling of the ankle occurs every time the foot lands. In turn, this also causes the lower leg to rotate inwards.
Over-Pronation and the Knee Joint
Your knee is a hinge joint that links your upper and lower leg. It is designed to flex and straighten your lower leg and unlike the ankle or hip joint, is not made to rotate. However, for someone with over-pronation, as their arch lowers and their ankle rolls inward, the lower leg is also forced to rotate. This puts added stress on the knee joint, causing poor knee function that eventually leads to excess wear and tear. As more time passes, this translates into long-term damage and chronic pain.
Understanding Foot Biomechanics to Develop Orthotics for Knee Pain
We believe that the most common causes of Patello-femoral pain are age, injury, and trauma, whereas nobody pays attention to faulty foot biomechanics. This surprisingly plays an important role in causing this pain as most health practitioners are of the opinion that our manner of walking, and the position of our feet and ankles affect our legs, knees, and hips and even lower back up to a large extent.
Studies suggest that close to 70% of the population has a condition called over-pronation. This means that their ankles tend to roll inwards and that the arch is low when the foot lands on the ground while we are walking. Experts say that this over-pronation affects our feet and also causes our lower legs to rotate.
Our knees are not meant to rotate but to form a link between our upper and lower leg. They function as a hinge joint that is designed to flex and extend forward our lower leg. However, in many cases when our foot rolls inwards, it is called over-pronation and it forces our lower leg to rotate, which places abnormal stress on our knee joints. This results in deterioration of the knee function.
This inevitably leads to abnormal wear and tear of the knee cartilage resulting in long-term damage and sharp chronic pain. Most physiotherapists in the US have now started to include feet assessment in knee diagnosis as more and more cases of people suffering from over-pronation are coming up.
The staff here at Footlogics have a comprehensive understanding of the biomechanics of the foot, and the role it plays in causing knee pain. We use this information to develop and refine orthotics for knee pain that are proven and effective.
Knee Pain Treatment
Given the prevalence of over-pronation, most physiotherapists in Canada assess the feet of patients suffering from knee pain. Depending on the type of knee pain, a number of suitable treatments can be recommended. Sports injuries resulting in knee pain are often treated using the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. One of the most common knee injuries in rugby and soccer players is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament.
On the other hand, “normal” knee pain, which has developed as a result of strenuous labour or the natural process of aging, calls for a different treatment regimen. Although chronic knee pain is best treated by a licensed physiotherapist, you can do quite a bit yourself. In a worst-case scenario, surgery is the only remaining option to achieve permanent pain relief.
It is critical that you strengthen the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscles, which are located above and to the inside of your kneecap. Acting as a dynamic stabilizer for your kneecap, VMOs are part of the quadicreps and include the muscles and ligaments in your upper leg in front of your thigh. In a perfectly functioning body, the VMOs easily contract and stay active throughout the entire range of movement. In a body suffering from Patello-Femoral pain, they contract inconsistently and become quickly fatigued. Strong VMOs control the tracking of the patella as the knee is bent and straightened, by making sure the patella stays in the patella groove. For patients suffering from knee pain, strengthening exercises are typically highly recommended by physiotherapists.
Strengthening of the VMO muscles or the Vastus Medialis Oblique is very important as it functions like a dynamic stabilizer for your knee cap. These muscles are a part of your quadriceps and are placed just above and towards the inside of your knee cap. The fibers of VMO in healthy individuals are active throughout the movement, contracting with ease during the entire range of motion. In people with Patello-Femoral pain on the other hand these muscle fibers contract inconsistently which leads to them fatiguing rapidly.
Stronger VMO muscles ensure that your patella stays in the patella groove. It controls the tracking of the patella when you bend and/or straighten your knee. Scroll down to see more details on strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises are highly recommended to patients by many physiotherapists as part of their knee pain therapy.
Using a knee brace
A knee brace’s primary function is to stabilize the knee joint. The most common is the Patella-Femoral brace, which helps to relieve anterior knee pain through improved patellar tracking. Relatively inexpensive, Patella-Femoral braces can be used in conjunction with other treatments and work to maintain patellar alignment and tracking by resisting patellar lateral displacement.
Foot orthotics for knee pain
Also inexpensive, foot orthotics are highly effective in the treatment of knee pain when coupled with other forms of therapy, especially strengthening exercises. Foot orthotics help re-align the feet and ankles to prevent internal leg rotation (a common cause of patella mal-tracking). Many studies have shown that patella-femoral knee pain is improved with the use of orthotic insoles. In fact, most high-level athletes wear foot orthotics to promote proper leg, foot and knee alignment. Simply by wearing a Footlogics orthotic, proper knee function can be restored through the correction of over-pronation. If your feet roll inwards or your arches tend to fall as you walk, it’s likely that a pair of foot orthotics will offer some degree of knee pain relief.
Foot Orthotics for Knee Pain & Pain Relief
Just like knee braces, foot orthotics is very light on your budget and proves very helpful in knee pain treatment. They are ideally used in conjunction with other forms of knee pain treatment and therapies especially strengthening exercises. Orthotics work to prevent internal leg rotation by re-aligning our feet and ankles which is a primary cause of patella mal-tracking.
Many studies claim the success rate of orthotic insoles to be high in various patients suffering from patello-femoral knee pain. Experts at the University of Queensland conducted a study recently that showed a comparative analysis of results in 2 patient groups. The first group was given a combination treatment of physiotherapy and orthotics and the other one received only physiotherapy. The former showed significant improvement with regards to knee pain as compared to the latter.
Orthotics are worn by leading athletes as it ensures proper alignment of their feet, legs and knees. Footlogics orthotics correct overpronation to restore proper knee function. It works by eliminating one of the primary causes of patello-femoral pain. If you too suffer from fallen arches and/or too much rolling inward of your ankles, orthotics can provide you with significant knee pain relief.
Insoles for Knee Pain
Knee discomfort is frequently the result of problems that originate in our feet. These difficulties move up the leg and impact the knee, producing regular pain and discomfort as well as the potential for long-term injury. Whether they lack support, overpronate, or are enduring strain in the area of the metatarsals, these problems travel up the leg and affect the knee.
We at Footlogics have a variety of insoles that can help alleviate knee pain by addressing issues with the user’s feet that may be contributing to the discomfort in their knees. In many cases, addressing an individual’s knee pain will only provide short-term or temporary relief from pain and suffering. In order to provide long-term respite and effective treatment, appropriate and focused foot support is required.