Gas Pedal Knee and Runners Knee are the two overuse injuries we see most commonly in our clinic. This week we take a look at what causes them, how they differ from each other, and how to treat them.
Overuse injuries are most common in individuals over the age of 40. They are caused by making a repetitive motion or holding a certain position over an extended period with improper technique or poor alignment. These injuries can cause a variety of different symptoms such as inflammation, pain, or stiffness and make everyday tasks like walking or driving incredibly unpleasant.
Gas pedal knee most often occurs in individuals who drive for their job or spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Rather than picking the foot up off the floor and moving the whole leg back and forth between the gas and brake pedals people often get tired and leave their foot on the floor, then they rotate it outwards to hit the gas. Over time, this can cause the foot to point outward when standing or walking which puts pressure on the knee which in turn can cause pain as well as muscular imbalances.
Runners knee is most often caused by poor patella (knee cap) tracking when bending the knee or by overstretching tendons during exercises such as lunges. After a while this can cause the cartilage between the femur and patella to break down, this causes knee pain most noticeably when running, walking upstairs or even at rest.
The silver lining to these injuries is that, for most cases, treating them is focused on exercise and changing the offending behavior.
Working with a physical therapist is the best way to ensure you’re doing the right exercises to fix the issue and can make sure you are doing them properly. If the symptoms persist, there may be something more severe contributing to your knee pain such as osteoarthritis. You should schedule an evaluation for a full diagnosis and learn what the treatment options are.