Running is a fantastic way to keep fit, improve mental health, and maintain a healthy weight. Those who run on a regular basis are used to feeling sore and uncomfortable. However, if you experience more of a shooting pain, or the pain lingers on for weeks, it could be a sign of knee bursitis.
As this year’s London Marathon looms, we reveal what runners need to know about knee bursitis, including how to treat and prevent the condition.
What is knee bursitis?
Situated under the tendons of the knee, bursae help to lubricate the joint as well as absorb shock. Bursitis occurs when the bursae become inflamed, and it has several potential causes such as direct trauma, repetitive strain, or an infection.
According to research, running typically involves 1,700 steps when running a 10-minute mile. This places a lot of pressure on the knees, increasing the risk of bursitis.
Can you prevent knee bursitis?
It isn’t always possible to prevent knee bursitis. However, there are things you can do to lower your risk as a runner. For example, the condition can occur due to weak hip abductors.
When you run, the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Maximus help to stabilise the pelvis. If these glutes are weak, they won’t be able to provide adequate stabilisation, leading to rubbing and irritation. Working on building up these muscles can therefore potentially help to prevent knee bursitis.
Another preventable cause is if you have increased your training load too quickly. Upping the distance and frequency you run without adequately building up the muscle, can place a lot of pressure onto the knee. So, building up distance over time will help to prevent friction and irritation from developing.
Due to how many potential causes there are, it isn’t possible to completely prevent knee bursitis in all cases. If you do develop the condition, seeking treatment quickly can help prevent it from worsening.
Treating knee bursitis
If you suspect you do have knee bursitis, you should undergo a professional assessment with a knee specialist. The earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you’ll be able to treat it without surgery.
Most treatments for knee bursitis focus on managing the symptoms until the condition heals. It can be treated with medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, orthotics, or with a splint/brace. The treatment assigned to you will depend upon the severity of the bursitis, and the symptoms you are experiencing.
Surgery isn’t a common treatment for the condition, though it may be recommended if non-surgical treatments fail.
Runners are at a greater risk of developing knee bursitis, and it can potentially keep you off the track for some time if treatment isn’t sought early enough. If you think you might be suffering with knee bursitis, book a consultation with Mr Jonathan Webb today.