ZocdocAnswersHow can I prevent knee soreness?

Question

How can I prevent knee soreness?

I am an 18 year old college student, and played tennis during high school. I often have knee soreness when sitting for extended periods of time, and sometimes when I am biking to class. My knees crack often (as in cracking knuckles) when I stretch them. Also, my doctor told me that I had some "grit" underneath my kneecaps, but it shouldn't be a major problem. I do not have a major problem with my knees, but I would like to know if there is any way to fix this.

Answer

The symptoms you are experiencing, especially the fact that the pain is most severe after sitting for extended periods of time, is most consistent with something called patellofemoral pain syndrome (also known as "runner's knee"). This is an extremely common cause of knee pain, especially in young athletes. The condition is caused when cartilage in the patella (knee cap) degenerates under the repeated stress of high impact physical activity. The mainstay of treatment is to reduce your level of physical activity, especially of high impact activities, to give the cartilage a chance to regenerate. You should also avoid all weight lifting and other exercises that involve bending the knee, as bending the knee puts more stress on the patella. Strengthening exercises of the quadriceps are helpful, however these should be straight leg lifts to avoiding stressing the patella. If you have tight hamstrings or calf muscles, stretching exercises to loosen these should also be performed. Finally, you should have an athletic trainer determine if you overpronate your feet, because if you do then shoes to correct the pronation will be of some use. Treating patellofemoral pain syndrome can require patience and time. It is best to work on this condition in collaboration with your primary care doctor or sports medicine doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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