Patellar tendonitis and other patello-femoral pain syndromes associated with repetitive running and jumping sports have a gamut of causes. Appropriately choosing footwear to optimize ground contact can reduce stress placed upon the knee and patellar tendon says Dr. Karim Khan, author of "Clinical Sports Medicine." Shoes for patellar tendonitis should have minimal heel height, have firm, stiff midsoles, yet are flexible.
Vibram 5 Fingers
Vibram Five Fingers shoes provide minimal support and have little cushioning, making the athlete run with a forefoot strike. This keeps the lower leg bone more vertical reducing stress on the patellar tendon says Dr. Charlie Weingroff, a physical therapist. Likewise, says Weingroff, strengthening the feet by gradually introducing shoes with less support can help develop strength and control around the knee in the long run.
The Puma H-Street shoe is a casual shoe that has a loose, mesh upper with thin, firm and flexible soles that encourage the runner to run with a more whole foot landing. Whole foot landings reduce the damage to the patellar tendon caused by excessive pronation of the foot, says Dr. Perry Nickelston, a sports chiropractor. The Puma H-Street runs slightly smaller than most normal running shoes, so try a pair on before you buy them.
Gray Cook, a physical therapist and renowned sport performance specialist, suggests that running shoeless in increasingly bigger doses may be just what the doctor ordered. Barefoot running, says Cook, is a self-limiting activity, meaning that the runner with patellar tendonitis will be limited in his ability to run from the feet and not his knees. As you gain fitness and strength, your capacity to run without pain for longer will increase directly with the strength of your feet.
- "Clinical Sports Medicine"; Peter Brukner, MD and Karim Khan, MD; 2005
- "Movement"; Gray Cook, MSPT and Lee Burton ATC, PhD; 2010
- "Super Human Radio"; Counter-Intuitive Rehabilitation; Charlie Weingroff, DPT; August 5, 2010
- "Stop Chasing Pain Podcast"; Perry Nickelston, DC; August 18, 2010