Orthopedics/Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. John-Paul Rue Explains Diagnosis and Treatment of "Runner's Knee"

October 10, 2016


Every fall, area marathoners prepare for the Baltimore Running Festival. Whether you are new to running or a seasoned veteran, there are many common injuries people encounter when they hit the pavement, including runner's knee.

Runner Tara Shea can relate to that.

“I try to run two or three times a week,” Shea said. “Athletics have always kind of been a part of who I am. I started out playing every sport there was. And I stumbled upon (lacrosse) and that became my love."

Shea went on to play lacrosse in high school, then college, and she now coaches the sport. However lately she noticed that her 3- to 4-mile runs were not as easy as they once were.

“I usually start to notice the pain midway through my run and then of course right after,” Shea said.

Shea described the discomfort as a tight pain with a lot of pressure. According to orthopedics and sports medicine specialist Dr. John-Paul Rue of Orthopedics & Joint Replacement at Mercy Medical Center, such pain is common in runners.

About 50 percent of runners get what's referred to as runner’s knee.

"Runner’s knee is really irritation underneath in the knee cap,” he said. “The kneecap is the patella. That area can get inflamed. If you have extra wear and tear, we call that runner’s knee, but it's really a compilation of a lot of things."

Dr. Rue explained that it is important to recognize the difference between being sore and painful problematic soreness.

"Knee pain that doesn't get better, you can have swelling, (joint) catching (and) popping,” Dr. Rue said. “Those type of things are something you want to get looked at."

There are steps patient can take to address runner’s knee.

“You shouldn't run every day,” Dr. Rue said. “You should alternate and do some cross-training. You should definitely work on flexibility for your quadriceps and hamstrings and you can work on strengthening your quadriceps. It will help stabilize the knee cap."

Shea said that is what she is doing so she won't have to hang up her running shoes later.

"I do love it,” Shea said. “I can't imagine my life without it."

To view Mercy orthopedics and sports medicine specialist Dr. John-Paul Rue’s interview regarding "runner's knee," click here.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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