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How To Deal With Runner’s Knee

Why Does The Runners Knee Occur

Overcoming Runners Knee: My Exact Steps

The injury occurs mainly due to the increase in the frequency of training, or due to an increase in running. Some individuals find that they experience some sporadic pain, whereas many find that their problems increase with the miles that they add. However, cases where the condition surfacing from poor running and core strength are also prevalent. Physical therapist Aaron LeBauer explains that a lot of the injuries that are pertained to running is a result of poor stability issues or lack of core engagement. Imbalances also cause many cases of the condition worsening in the hip or the leg.

Know When To Take It Easy

Maybe you tweaked your knee again or feel it acting up? Learn to take your training down a notch.

When youre trying to treat runners knee you must know when to take it easy. Because pushing it too hard when injured doesnt do you any good.

So take a deep breath and dial back the miles, or the intensity, or the speed, or all 3 of those, and let your body heal.

Staying Motivated If You Have An Injury

Being injured can be very frustrating. If you’re new to running, you might be tempted to give up at the first sign of injury.

Andy says that having a specific goal, such as a 5km race or charity run, will help you stay motivated through injury.

“If you have something to work towards, you’ll be much more likely to get back into running once you’ve recovered.”

Running with a partner is also a great way to stay motivated. If they carry on running while you’re injured, you’ll want to get back out there once you’re better as you will not want to let them down.

Page last reviewed: 20 June 2018 Next review due: 20 June 2021

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Ways To Make A Comeback With Runners Knee

While theres an ongoing debate around whether running is good or bad for our knees, runners knee makes up almost 50% of running overuse injuries, and the pain radiating from behind and around the kneecap can come in a wide range of feeling, make running less fun or completely impossible.

There are thousands of articles out there about preventing runners knee from occurring, but try to find some actual guidelines for making a comeback once you have it, and suddenly, the advice gets a lot less helpful. There are some faux easy cures like knee braces, but ultimately, its a slow, irritating process. To slowly make your way back from a nagging injury like this that has a super high rate of recurrence is difficult but necessary. Here are a few tips to get you back on the trails:

Get A Running Assessment

Dealing With

A running assessment can help you identify some foot-strike problems, foot and ankle mobility, hip movement, muscle imbalances, and more. You can get running assessments from physical therapists, running specialists, and kinesiologists. I have had 2 assessments done and they have been super helpful in helping identify problems in form that contribute to tendinitis and injury.

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The Crux Of Runners Knee

Caused by strain, the runners knee is one of the most common injuries during running. The damage is known to cause severe changes to your training and can generate enough pain to leave you sidelined in an event. The runners knee is also known as the Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome . The pain that is usually associated with this common injury is located below or above the kneecap. The damage is mainly due to the stress caused by strenuous training. The condition generally worsens when runners run uphill or downhill as it places a lot of pressure on the injured area. There have been many cases in Runners knee where individuals have heard popping during running. In the worst case, there may be immediate swelling of the knee.

Runners Knee Doesnt Have To Ruin Your Workouts A Physical Therapist Explains Why

PSA: you don’t have to put away your sneakers because you’re dealing with runner’s knee.

As long as you have the go-ahead from your doctor or specialist this is important you can continue to exercise with some important modifications.

To help you navigate the world of working out with runner’s knee, we chatted with a doctor of physical therapy about how your running routes might change, strengthening exercises to incorporate into your routine, low-impact workouts to try, and more.

First things first, what actually constitutes a runner’s knee injury? Though a common running injury, there’s no formal diagnosis for runner’s knee. Dr. Kristi Fata, PT, DPT at Bespoke Treatments NYC, said it’s used as a diagnosis of exclusion.

“Runner’s knee or in fancy terms, patellofemoral pain syndrome, is pain that occurs in the front of the knee that typically occurs in the active population,” Dr. Fata said. “It is typically described as a dull or annoying pain that occurs in the front of the knee and is exacerbated by activities that load the knee joint with a bent knee. Often times it can be attributed to overuse in running, jumping, cutting, and pivoting sports, which basically means in all physical activity, but the true cause remains unknown.”

If you think you have runner’s knee, the first step is reaching out to a medical professional, like a doctor of physical therapy, for an evaluation and an individualized recovery program.

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What Causes Pfp Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse disorder. These happen when someone does the same movements that stress the knee over and over again.

In PFP syndrome, repeated bending and straightening the knee stresses the kneecap. It’s most common in athletes.

Some people with PFP syndrome have a kneecap that is out of line with the thighbone . The kneecap can get out of line, or wiggle as it moves along the thighbone, because of muscle weakness, trauma, or another problem. If this happens, the kneecap doesn’t glide smoothly over the thighbone when the knee bends and straightens. The kneecap gets injured and this causes the pain of PFP syndrome.

Can Runners Knee Cause Permanent Damage

How to Recover From Runners Knee

There are several things that can cause a flare-up of runners knee. One of the most common causes is overuse from bending your knee repeatedly or doing too much high-stress exercise. Lunges and plyometrics are both high-stress exercises that could cause runners knee. This type of overuse causes irritation to the tissues in and around the kneecap.

Falling down on your knee or taking a direct blow to the knee is another possible cause. Some less common medical conditions may cause knee pain, too. Chondromalacia patella, which happens when the cartilage under the kneecap breaks down, is much less common but can be very painful. Even problems with the feet, thigh muscles, or bones in your hips and ankles can cause runners knee. Heres how runners knee is diagnosed and treated, and how you can prevent a flare-up in the future. How long does it take for runners knee to heal? The cure of a runners knee may take up to 6 weeks.

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How Is Runners Knee Diagnosed

If you see a doctor about pain in your knee, he or she will review your medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms and the activities you are involved in. Be sure to tell your doctor if youve increased how much time you spend at a certain activity or how often you do it.

The doctor will probably check the alignment of your kneecap, thigh, and lower leg, as well as look at your range of motion. Your doc will also check your kneecap for signs of tenderness or dislocation. You may be asked to squat, jump, or lie down so your doctor can assess your knees strength and mobility.

In some cases, your doctor may order imaging tests like an X-ray or MRI to see if there is any damage to the structure of your knee or the tissues connected to it.

Mix Up Your Workouts With Cross Training

One of the best ways to avoid overuse injuries like runners knee is by cross-training cardio with strengthening exercises. Try adding a few back, abdominal, and hip strengthening exercises into your workouts to help give your knees more support.

Below are a few exercises you can try to strengthen your hips and legs to reduce knee pain.

Even if youre not very active, consider adding these exercises to your daily routine. You might be surprised at how effective they can be at building muscle strength and reducing joint pain.

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How I Cured My Runner’s Knee

Hi. This is a post about how I cured a bad problem of runner’s knee. There’s a lot of terrible information on the internet, and the mainstream medical community seems a little clueless generally about runner’s knee . Here’s a short post about my story and what I did to get better. If you don’t care about my story or reasoning behind the treatment, and just want to know how to cure runner’s knee, skip to the last section with the heading THE TREATMENT. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


Im not a doctor. I have no formal medical training. I have no certifications in any sort of physical therapy. The following is NOT officially sanctioned medical advice by the mainstream medical body, it’s just what Ive found that worked for me . Thats it. There are a lot of books about healing knees, but they follow the same useless advice, with too many exercises that are impossible to keep up with, even for the most diligent.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have knee pain, the first thing to do is see a trained medical professional.


The doctor recommended ice. I tried it once, but it was too cumbersome and didnt seem to get at heart of problem. My knee pain was starting to have repercussions in my general life. It became chronic pain.


There are many other myths, such as the VMO and knee pain, and the Q angle and knee pain. I’ll spare you all these and go straight to the treatment.


How Can I Prevent Runners Knee

How to deal with knee pain in runners?

While youre waiting for your knee to heal, you should switch to a form of exercise that wont put stress on the joint, such as swimming. Once you can bend and straighten your knee without any pain, you can resume your regular workouts. However, there are some steps you should take to prevent a recurrence of runners knee.

Start by building up the muscles in your thighs so that they can take some of the stress off your knees. If you want to do squats or lunges, incorporate them slowly and only do a few at a time. Be sure to warm up by stretching before you work out to prevent injury. Avoid running on hard surfaces such as concrete.

Wearing quality, supportive running shoes can make a huge difference. Once your shoes start to wear out or lose their shape, replace them. Wearing arch supports may also help. You should also consider wearing a knee brace during your workouts to see if it helps.

Sometimes, seeing a physical therapist can help, so talk to your doctor to see if thats a good option for you.Runners knee can be very painful. Thankfully, it can be treated and healed, usually without the need for surgery. Employing these seven strategies will get you back to your regular running routine as quickly as possible.

Last Updated on 8. December 2020 by Sabrina Wieser

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What Is Runners Knee Signs Symptoms And Rehab Guide

An evidence-based guide for Runners Knee symptoms, causes and treatment options

Runners Knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common overuse injury causing pain at the front of the knee, around or behind the kneecap.

It is most common in runners but can also affect other active people who participate in sports such as cycling and hiking. Most people recover completely from Runners Knee after a few months of rehab, although it is an injury that can become chronic if not treated correctly.

Who Gets Pfp Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome usually happens in people who do sports that involve a lot of knee bending and straightening, such as running, biking, and skiing. It also can happen to people, particularly young women, who do not do a lot of sports.

PFP syndrome is more common in women and happens most often to teens and young adults.

Tight or weak leg muscles or flat feet can make someone more likely to get PFP syndrome.

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Warm Up And Cool Down Properly

Running with tight muscles is one cause of runners knee.

To make sure your body is properly warmed up, do a 5-minute series of dynamic stretches or walking.

This gets the blood flowing and warms up the muscles so theyre ready for the movements and impact running requires.

Then, after your run, stretch it out!

Static stretching keeps the muscles from tightening up too.

Attacking tight muscles before and after running helps prevent runners knee.

Bonus tip: Add some foam rolling in too and youll improve your chances of avoiding tight muscles even more!

Getting Back To Running

Runners Knee Exercises: 5 Minute Knee Strengthening Routine (TO RUN PAIN FREE)

Once the pain & inflammation have settled, you can start gradually increasing your running training. Start slow, and conservative. The key here is to increase volume in small increments giving your body plenty of time to recover and adapt. Include rest days after every run and increase distance by no more than 10% each week. Remember it takes time for the tissues to adapt, and rest days are when they rebuild and get stronger.

As a general rule, run only 3 times per week one long run, one speedwork/track run, and one tempo run. Plus, continue strength training and cross-training as supplemental workouts between the runs.

Getting back to running after an injury isnt always straight-forward and simple. There may be days or weeks where you feel defeated and frustrated. Some weeks you might need more rest and recovery time. Thats okay. Prepare to play the long game. Steady improvements over time are what matter, if you listen to your body and rest when you need, you will reach your goals quicker than if you push yourself too much.

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So How Long Should Recovery Take

Research suggests that doing exercises that strengthen the knees and hips 3 to 4 times a week for 6 weeks can help decrease knee pain.

But if nothing is working after 3 weeks and you still have significant pain, seeing a doctor or physical therapist is your best next step.

Starting with the exercises listed is sufficient for acute pain, says Win. From there, I typically would progress them into more functional exercises or runner-specific. This could be jumps, hops, and landing mechanics, which is important to implement before going full on running again.

You may need further evaluation with a CT scan, X-ray, or MRI to determine if there is an underlying cause.

Win also mentions that recovery really depends on the individual and the diagnosis behind the knee pain. Typically, recovery can take about 6 weeks.

How To Prevent And Respond To Runner’s Knee

If youve ever been besieged by a nagging pain at the top or side of your knee cap, youve likely experienced patellofemoral pain syndrome , more commonly known as runners knee.

The condition is so named because its one of those injuries that many runners experience at some point in their training. The pain occurs when the patella, or knee cap, rubs against the lower attachment of the femur, usually because the patella is out of alignment. Its also possible, but less common, that the cartilage that normally lies beneath the knee cap has worn down. If you love to run but suffer from runners knee, these expert tips will help you manage it and get you back to pounding the pavement.

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Strength For Relief And Prevention

In the new approach to beating runners knee, not only are you encouraged to keep running, but youre also able to actively treat your pain with another type of movement. Research has shown that heavy isometric muscle contractions effectively reduce pain through an effect known as descending analgesia. Heres an example: Lie on your back with a rolled towel positioned underneath the affected knee. Contract your quadriceps and try to press the towel into the floor with the back of your knee. Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.

When dealing with PFPS, its also important to address the factors that may have caused or contributed to your injury. Doing so will not only help you overcome an existing case of PFPS but also greatly reduce the likelihood of future recurrence. Research has shown that PFPS sufferers tend to be weak in certain important stabilizing muscles in particular, the hip abductors and hip external rotators. Studies have also demonstrated a link between particular biomechanical patterns including hip adduction , internal rotation of the thigh, and lateral tilting of the pelvis and PFPS. Fortunately, all of these issues are fixable.

The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is that its a relatively minor condition. The bad news is that it can be just as debilitating and last just as long as more serious breakdowns. These tips can help to minimize the impact of knee pain on your running, if and when it strikes.

When To See A Doctor

Putting the âRunnerâ? Back in âRunnerâs Kneeâ?

If theres any swelling at the knee joint, get it checked out by a doc, Kaiser suggests. They can pinpoint exactly whats causing the issue and rule out any structural damage, as well as provide a gait analysis to help improve your run mechanics. Also, if you experience the pain and start doing the above-mentioned strengthening and stretching work, and it doesnt improve in a few weeks, then its time to see a pro.

If you have a big race coming up, we can also help speed up recovery, she says. Its not a bad idea if youre looking to push your pace and dont want to worry about discomfort.

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