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Tara on Patello Femoral Joint (PFJ) Pain

Tara on Patello Femoral Joint (PFJ) Pain cover image

Whilst training for a half marathon 3-4 years ago, I experienced some patella- femoral joint (PFJ) pain in my right knee. After assessing myself, I suddenly realised I was getting the pain from carrying my phone in my right hand whilst running. My right arm was running with a small weight so actively assisting my left knee but I had a very lazy left arm which was doing nothing to help my right knee.

After putting my phone in a pocket to run, most of my pain settled.

This highlighted to me how important the arms are in running. I am consistently saying to my patients, “run with your arms and your legs will follow”.

After putting my phone in a pocket to run, most of my pain settled.

PFJ pain is mainly caused by poor biomechanics increasing compression between the patella and femur. This not only happens during functional activities such as squatting or descending stairs with poor hip and knee control but whenever we sit with our knees flexed over 30 degrees. I was always tucking my feet underneath me in the evenings on the sofa or kneeling and sitting crossed legs on the floor with the kids.

To help reduce the pressure, I always do lots of quadriceps stretching and watch my sitting position both during the day and in the evenings. A foam roller is now also part of our lounge furniture- it’s brilliant for easing out muscle tightness and is a must for all runners! Strength and conditioning for the core and glutes is also something that helps the biomechanics of the knee and this is where my Pilates comes in to play.

3 years ago, I had a running assessment by a colleague. We normally have swimming lessons, tennis lessons, golf lessons but never ‘running lessons’. As a Physiotherapist, I love doing running assessments with patients as I have seen how little changes and tweaks to running style can reduce knee pain, improve efficiency and also improve speed.

I am pleased to say I have just managed to complete my first half marathon since having my third child. The time was nowhere near a personal best, but it’s a starting block to build on over the next year.
I believe it is vital that we are both fit to run and run to stay fit.

Running requires an ongoing assessment of our technique, body and fitness. This is where we at Weybridge & Walton Physiotherapy can help you.

Help me with my running...

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