I wear a knee brace, but it is important to get a professional evaluation so you are choosing the best product for your individual circumstances. For example, there is a difference between patella stabilizing, neoprene and arthritic support. You could certainly experiment with a simple knee band or compression sleeve, and that might help with reducing some pressure on the tendon. Again, it is critical to have a good grasp on the cause of knee pain (better now than later to avoid ongoing problems). There are some great options out there, so it really just a matter of finding the most appropriate match for whatever is going on with your knee.
Wishing you all the best.
When troubleshooting pain, it works much better when you can identify the cause of the pain before selecting a treatment. It is not unusual for runners with tight quads to have pain in the center of the knee cap. You can treat the knee all day, but if you do nothing to address the tight quad muscles, particularly Rectus Femoris and Vastus Medialis, the problem will be made fresh daily, and whatever band-aid you put on the pain will need to stay on.
If you want to actually solve the problem, so that you don't need any band-aids at all, learn how to troubleshoot and remedy the quads. You can do this yourself.. and really should, because no one has a better opportunity - or responsibility - to understand how your body works, than you.
Pop medicine has a love affair with fixes coming from the outside, but problems like these usually come from the inside, and can be solved from the inside. You just need to know how to find problems and solve them, and fortunately, that's getting much easier in the Information Age...
The above graphic from Gray's Anatomy (via wiki) allows you to trace the kneecap upwards through the powerful muscles that control it. Note the V. Medialis (R) and R. Femoris (C) that I mentioned earlier. You can see how the R.F. pulls directly on the kneecap, and the V.M. pulls on it from one side. The product of tension in the RF is obvious, but knots in the VM can weaken it, allowing the kneecap to be pulled to the side by massive Vastus Lateralis (L), sometimes causing patellar tracking error, a potential source of kneecap pain as well. I say potential, because pain can occur with or without a tracking error, and may have nothing to do with actual knee damage.
In the first video, a Coach shows his favorite foam-roll technique for nailing knee pain caused by unequal quad tension. It is based on his work with many clients trying to lose excess weight, one of the primary causes of knee pain. Remember this is a coach, not a physiology professor, but he really cuts to the chase. I find it easier to do the same thing with my fingers, but to each his own..
Same coach demonstrating his foam-rolling wisdom for the R. Femoris...
Again, foam-rolling is not a pancea for muscle dysfunction, and skilled fingers can usually do a better job of finding and removing knots that may cause a muscle to tighten or fail to contract properly. It is easy to do, however, is cheap, and looks savvy-athlete cool.
So what about strengthening the muscles if they are weak? If you literally moved from the couch to the road, you might expect the quads to need some preparation for running, and you would be right. However, if the pain is happening after months or years of running, it is more likely that the muscles are failing to contract properly, not that they lack the intrinsic ability to do so. Knots in muscles tend to alter the extent to which muscles can contract, producing pain in the joints they are meant to move with balanced, smooth contractions.
But why would muscles get into such a condition? Often times it is because they are over-trained, not under-trained. This is why the problem often becomes evident after a runner has realized some progress in their training. The setback is an opportunity to learn your current limits for increases in exercise time or intensity, which runners see as mileage and speed. Rapid changes in your routine can overwhelm your body's ability to adapt to the demands you are placing on it. Pain can come sooner, or much later when you have overworked your body beyond its ability to recover. Muscles can rebel and form knots.
Another culprit is form. I'm not just talking about sloppy running techniques, but characteristics of your unique body type that may not lend themselves to efficient running. These can be variations in the structure of your feet, knees, hips, or spine. They can be postural problems related to your work or leisure habits. The more time you spend in chairs, for example, the more likely you are to experience knee pain when running. As mentioned earlier, weight is another common factor, but form will trump them all. Before you spend too much time trying to find a way to keep running, have your form analyzed on a treadmill for pain-producing characteristics.
Sometimes anatomical realities can severely limit your potential for pain-free running. Eric Dalton gets into a bit more detail on conditions of the knee that may directly cause pain, or indirectly cause it by overworking some of the stabilizing muscles...
To summarize, the pain you feel could be from your knee, but it probably just feels like it is. Before you self-treat, make sure you know what you are treating. There is no one fix for all potential problems, and some cannot be fixed easily or at all. However, making sure your muscles are working properly, and that you are using them appropriately, is priority number one.
Knee Pain & Knee Bands !
Arthritis is the name for a group of over 100 different conditions that affect joint health. The only thing these conditions have in common is severe pain. Unfortunately, over 40 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. These men and women are all looking for the best type of knee pain relief. If you are seeking the best treatment for knee pain relief, you have plenty of options available. The demand for natural and alternative methods of treatment means that many arthritis sufferers no longer have to rely on expensive medication. That being said, drugs are often the backbone of a successful knee pain relief program.
Doctors usually prescribe one of two types of drugs: NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or analgesics. Patients usually take NSAIDs for long term knee pain relief. This type of drug includes Ibuprofen and Aleve as well as the old staple, Aspirin. NSAIDs reduce inflammation and provide knee pain relief when taken in sufficient doses. Analgesics, on the other hand, do not treat inflammation but are effective and powerful painkillers. There are two types of analgesics, narcotic, and non-narcotic. Non-narcotic analgesics include Tylenol and other mild painkillers. Narcotic analgesics include Morphine, Codeine, and Vicodin. Although these drugs provide short term knee pain relief, they can also be extremely addictive. Discuss any new medication with your doctor before proceeding.
Knee bands for arthritis are one treatment method that a lot of people rely on. There are a lot of different treatments out there, of course, but people love having things that are less invasive or that don’t involve medication. Therefore, knee bands for arthritis are designed to give people just that. There are plenty of different types of bands and braces to choose from out there, giving you the chance to have different options for your pain relief and knee support, no matter what you have in mind.
Knee Bands for Arthritis are only effective if they get the job done. With so much to choose from, it can be hard to find the right ones. Fortunately, you can talk to your doctor and learn all about the different knee bands for arthritis that can help you. They will be able to figure out exactly what is right for your needs, depending on the type of arthritis and pain that you have. Some people can use knee bands for arthritis that come straight from the store, while others need customized models. What you get or need depends on your doctor’s recommendations, so make sure that you talk to them about what’s going on.
I have had similar knee pain... It was caused by off balanced quad muscles and an IT Band issue that were all ultimately related to an on going hip/low back issue. I saw a knee specialist who prescribed a brace and PT. If I slack off on the stretches the PT gave me ( some are similar to what JamesJohnsonLMT posted) the pain returns when I increase milage. There were some tracking issues with my knee cap that could have been alleviated with taping if I wasn't allergic to the stuff....
On the other hand, my brother has had knee and hip pain which turned out to be arthritis, which involves a totally different plan of treatment.
SO... get a solid medical opinion, your doctor should be able to give you a prescription for PT (who will help with stretching and releasing muscles/tendons/fascia etc), if you don't have a local sports medicine doc.
The only problem I have with the arthritis theory is that arthritis is a normal part of age progression for many people. In fact, studies of healthy individuals without pain symptoms have shown arthritis to be present in one or more joints, without them knowing it. A direct link between what we call arthritis and pain is assumed, but not scientifically based. For example, I've got expanded thumb joints from years of practice, but no pain.
"Itis" is a suffix used in medicine to denote inflammation. Yet, it is not clear there is inflammation present in all cases of apparent arthritis, but the term sticks. Even when there is inflammation, it is still not clear that inflammation is the source of pain when pain and inflammation are present at the same time. Once again, it is assumed, and explains why anti-inflammatory meds often have no effect on pain.
One thing is for sure.. If the muscle tissue moving your joints has any problems at all, the millions of sensitive nerve cells therein present a whole lot of pain potential. Any structural deficit in a joint will require more work on the part of the involved muscles to stabilize it, and that predisposes you to pain right away. Where a compression band might come in handy, is the leverage advantage it might have keeping an unstable fibular head in place (see the Dalton clip above).