Research suggests that a Botox-like injection, along with physical therapy, can help relieve runner’s knee pain – also known as lateral patellofemoral overload syndrome (LPOS) – a form of knee pain experienced by runners, cyclists, and other active people.
LPOS impacts at least one in eight physically active people. The condition causes pain in the front and the side of the knee. Recovery from this type of pain can be quite challenging, as the knee is being utilized all the time.
Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital, said, “Knee pain in runners and cyclists is often difficult to treat. Most will respond well to traditional therapy, but some will continue to have pain.”
Previous research has found that nearly 80 percent of patients with runner’s knee pain have ongoing symptoms even after undergoing conventional treatment. Current treatment methods involve physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections. If these treatments are unsuccessful, then surgery may be required.
The recent study included 45 patients who received injections from a type of botulinum toxin, which relaxes the muscle around the hip. They also underwent physical therapy to complement the treatment.
The hip was the site for injection as it has been shown that individuals with LPOS tend to overuse certain hip muscles rather than the gluteal muscles.
The researchers found that two-thirds of the participants did not require additional treatment aside from the injections and physical therapy, and remained pain-free for up to five years.
Coauthor Jo Stephen said, “It can be incredibly frustrating to run out of treatment options for patients with this painful condition. Many athletes who took part in this study had exhausted all other treatment options, and this was their last resort. We are really excited that our approach is showing positive results for patients, which could have implications for active people around the world.”
Dr. Khabi explained how the injection works, “[it] relaxes a very tight muscle/tendon unit on the outer aspect of the leg, which is often very tight in runners and cyclists. Physical therapy aims to relax this muscle, but when therapy is not enough, this study shows that [the] injections are an option.”
The researchers are hopeful that this new form of treatment will be useful to those who have exhausted all other forms of treatment for runner’s knee.