Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), aka Runner’s Knee, is known as the “Black Hole of Orthopedics” for a reason. Medical professionals often struggle to produce a successful outcome for their patients.
But knee pain does not have to be a lifestyle. Allow me to share how my journey through the “Black Hole” had a successful outcome.
I lived with chronic knee pain for over 5 years. As an active adult and triathlete, it was an extremely frustrating condition to deal with. Every ride and every run were planned according to my pain level rather than my fitness level. It was not the optimal way to train and prepare for a race, but it was necessary to modify my workouts if I wanted to continue participating in a sport I enjoy.
Over the years I searched relentlessly for relief. I read the research and followed recommended treatment plans. I tried a variety of knee supports, taping methods, stretching routines, and strength routines without success. I even purchased a stand-up elliptical bike to relieve the stress of running. I had spent thousands, hopeful that I would find a remedy that would relieve the aching and burning knees that had become part of my reality.
PFPS is easily diagnosed by doctors – of which I am not – since the symptoms are classic and easily recognized (pain around your knee cap). It’s the result of your patella (knee cap) rubbing against your femur (thigh bone). The rubbing leads to excess pressure which leads to inflammation and pain. But, easily diagnosed does not equate to easily treated.
Here’s what I have learned from my experience:
1. The key to pain relief is pressure relief
Your patella is designed to glide freely over your femur. In a healthy knee, there is a small space filled with synovial fluid, a natural lubricant, between your patella and your femur. Imbalances cause that space to deteriorate which leads to excessive pressure.
By relieving the pressure on your patella, you allow it to glide freely as it’s designed to do. When your patella can glide freely, the pain disappears. It’s that simple.
2. Treatment typically consists of rest followed by physical therapy
Physical therapy can sometimes help resolve any muscular imbalance you may have that’s causing your knee cap to rub against your femur. That said, successful outcomes require the correct diagnosis and treatment plan, time (typically 4-6 weeks), and discipline. The patient must comply with the treatment plan or symptoms will persist.
For many, this kind of discipline is hard to achieve. It requires a lot of time away from the activities you love, and life doesn’t always fall in line with your doctor’s orders. For me, it was difficult to take such a break from training, and I wished there was a way to protect my knee from further harm while in physical therapy.
3. Compression does not relieve PFPS symptoms
There are an abundance of knee supports and sleeves that use compression and claim to relieve PFPS. I tried a variety ranging from $25 to $250. Save your money. They don’t work.
In fact, research reveals that these products are ineffective. Dr. Maharam, aka the Running Doc™, agrees. “Knee sleeves, braces, straps and ACE bandages are out. Think about it: If you compress the kneecap, every motion will press it into the groove. Keep it loose and free. Those devices are making money for someone, but not helping you in the long term!”
If you’re anything like me, 4-6 weeks of rest and rehab will test your patience. When you’re in pain you want relief and you want it now. You want to train without pain. You want to get back to doing the activities you enjoy.
After my frustration with rehab and the lack of options that worked to relieve my pain, I was inspired to try to see if I could come up with a better solution; and that’s where NuNee™ came in.
Once I understood that if you relieve the pressure you relieve PFPS pain, I was able to design a solution that relieved the pressure on my patella, and my pain was gone. My training then went uninterrupted because relief was significant and immediate.
And incredibly, I’ve watched as NuNee™ has produced very similar results for others like me that had also endured the pain of PFPS for years.
My new obsession is to help others avoid the long, expensive, and painful journey into the “Black Hole” that I endured.
So, if you’ve been suffering from chronic PFPS, my hope is that I can save you a lot of pain, frustration, time, and expense. That you will benefit from my experience and others like me that have lived through it and eventually found relief.Cheers to happy knees!