Summer is upon us and, in most places across the US, the warm weather brings both avid and casual runners out in droves. And for you athletic trainers that means an uptick in complaints from your clients about soreness, stiffness and possible injuries. Since they’re relying on you to “make it all better”, you’ll need to be ready to accurately assess and treat a whole host of conditions. The most common complaint you’ll hear is about knee pain. Patellofemoral pain syndrome, commonly known as “Runner’s Knee”, affects around 40% of runners (and 25% of the general population) at some point in time. However, since there is no clear etiology, the key to addressing the pain is assessment.
It is important to assess the patient and determine if their pain is patellofemoral or femorapetella. Since there is no one test that will say, “This patient definitely has PFPS”, a comprehensive assessment is critical to determining the best path to health. Assessment techniques have evolved, but they all really break down into determining the patients impairments: What’s tight? What’s weak? And then taking those results and correlating them to what their functional deficits are: Running, jumping, climbing stairs. Knee pain, while it may present in essentially the same way on the surface, can be caused by many different issues. Slapping a diagnosis on a patient without a comprehensive assessment can result in a treatment plan that not only does no good, but results in continued pain and frustration for the patient.
John O’Halloran, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS, cert MDT, recommends that athletic trainers determine a treatment plan based on the use of Clinical Prediction rules and classifications, reasoning, thinking and specific corrective exercises rather than simply prescribing a bunch of general exercises. In his continuing education course “Anterior Knee Pain: Examination and Treatment”, John shares his vast experience treating anterior knee pain to instruct therapists on effective assessment techniques, exercise prescription tips for therapeutic compliance, recognition of poor measures of function and a battery of tests used in functional testing of PFPS. The course includes stretching demonstrations, assessment techniques, the history of treatment and specific exercises that will maximize healing and strengthening.
For a preview of the course, check out the snippet below.
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