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Help for Women Runners With Knee Pain

Hip-strengthening exercises may relieve discomfort, study finds

FRIDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Hip exercises can reduce a common type of knee pain in female runners, according to a new study.

Patellofemoral pain (PFP) occurs when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap. Typically, pain doesn't occur when someone with PFP first starts a run. But once the pain begins, it gets increasingly worse. The pain disappears almost immediately after the person stops running.

This study included five runners with PFP who did hip-strengthening exercises twice a week for six weeks and a control group of four runners. The hip-strengthening exercises lasted for 30 to 45 minutes and involved single-leg squats and exercises with a resistance band. These exercises can be done at home.

The exercise program reduced and, in some cases, eliminated knee pain, according to the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers.

The study was to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Baltimore.

Previous studies have found an association between PFP in women and weak hips. This is the first study to test a possible treatment for PFP, Tracy Dierks, assistant professor in the department of physical therapy, said in a university news release.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about patellofemoral pain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, news release, June 4, 2010

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