submitted by Ray Chronister, A.T.C, U.S. Naval Academy, April 8, 1998

One of the more frustrating injuries for a runner involves a tendinitis of the knee - specifically on the outside of the knee. That rope-like tendon on the outside of the knee just above the joint becomes inflamed and can sideline runners completely. It hurts going up or down stairs, when you start up for a run (but subsides somewhat during the run) until you stop to get a drink, then attempt to start up again. It hurts during ones regular daily routine.

The standard treatment has been to treat with anti-inflamatories, lots of rest, stretching, and slowly ease back into running as symptoms permitted.

Now an addition to the treatment is being utilized at the U.S. Naval Academy. First of all be sure to check with your physician or orthopedic surgeon to verify the diagnosis. You may also require the services of a certified athletic trainer or physical therapist to alleviate the inflamation and ensure proper stretching technique. The latest protocol involves applying a very snug band called Patt-strap *, placed about 2 - 3 inches above the patella (knee cap). The foam backing keeps the strap in place even during pool workouts. The width of the band also dissipates the tension over the hamstring tendons for more comfort.

The key to running return is to TERMINATE the run when you sense the knee getting stiff or tight. You can't run through iT, so don't even try.

Why does it work? We feel the band holds the tendon close to the knee joint thereby relieving the friction rub and create a false attachment at the joint. But it works and works well. Our runners are excited about it and it is difficult to keep the straps in stock. Your daily routine becomes more comfortable.

We have our runners with I.T. band symptoms "strap-up" upon arising in the morning and take it off only in bed at night. After they become more comfortable, they can reduce the wear time to running only. The addition of a Patt-strap* protocol has allowed a much faster rehabilitation and return to running than previously tolerated, or no down time at all for milder symptoms.

So far typical responses have been "Gee, I can walk a lot more normal now", and "my milage has gone up dramatically with the straps in place. I've been fighting with this for three years".

Don't forget to icebag for twenty minutes post run (immediately) for a calming effect and then restretch again. Continue stretching for up to a dozen times daily.

*Patt-Strap is directly available from Fabrifoam Products 8O0-577-1O77. Web site is now up as of 9/7/99.

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