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How To Reduce Knee Pain When Running

What Are The Symptoms Of Runners Knee

Knee Pain When Running? | How To Avoid Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral syndrome is commonly described to be a dull ache located inside of your knee cap, or patella. You may also experience the sensation of rubbing, grinding, or clicking under the patella. When this issue is acute, the knee cap may be tender to touch.

In addition to sports and exercise, symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome will be present with any activities that involve bending or straightening your knee while weight bearing, such as:

  • Standing up from or sitting on a chair
  • Going up or down stairs
  • Squatting

Protect Your Knees By Not Over Striding As You Run

Both leaning forwards as you run, and increasing your running cadence will help to prevent you from over striding.

What is over striding?

Over striding is when your foot strikes the ground too far ahead of you as you run, effectively increasing the impact and braking forces your body experiences with each running stride.

Your knees will be one of the first places that experience this increased impact and breaking force as you over stride.

Ideally you should be aiming to land your foot beneath your centre of mass as you run, with your foot striking the ground beneath a flexing knee, rather than ahead of a more extended knee.

Dont worry too much about how your foot strikes the ground . When were looking to prevent Runners Knee, its more important to address where the foot strikes the ground in relation to the knee and the rest of your body.

Ive seen it myself many times in the runners that I coach learning not to over stride is a powerful way of protecting their knees, overcoming the early signs of knee pain, and keeping them running.

Its been well documented that the easiest way to achieve this is to increase your running cadence, as discussed in the section above!

In my experience, a lot of runners struggle to prevent themselves from over striding in two specific situations:

a) when they get fatigued on the back-end of a long run

b) when theyre trying to lengthen their stride to run faster

The solutions to these two issues?

Top 7 Ways To Treat Your Runners Knee

by Sabrina Wieser

Although runners knee is quite common among runners, its not really one specific injury. Its actually a broad term that is used to describe knee pain that runners can experience for many different reasons. If you see a doctor for your runners knee, he will probably call it patellofemoral pain syndrome. Today you will find out what is the fastest way to get rid of runners knee?

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Kneecap Pain: Runner’s Knee

If you have soreness around the front of your knee or possibly behind the kneecap, you may have runner’s knee, also known as patella femoral pain syndrome or anterior knee syndrome. Running downhill, squatting, going up or down stairs, or sitting for long periods of time can aggravate the condition.

Pick The Correct Running Shoes For To Save Your Knees

Lower Body Exercises That Reduce Knee Pain  ActiveGear

Picking the right pair of running shoes can be really challenging, thats for sure! However its such an important part of you being able to run without knee pain.

Your knees, and the patellofemoral joints in particular thrive on stability and alignment of your knees to be able to function properly, without knee pain as you run. That stability comes from the joints above and below the knees, namely the hips, feet and ankles.

Ill talk more about hip stability later in this article. However, when it comes to the foot and ankle, the stability provided by the inherent characteristics of your feet and your choice of running shoes will massively influence the way your patellofemoral joint loads as you run.

Because of the repetitive nature of the running gait cycle, small areas of overload around your knees caused by a bad footwear choice, will build-up over time and potentially cause you knee pain, or another injury.

The best advice I can realistically give you without seeing your feet, is to get yourself to a specialist running store. Not one of the big-box sports outlets, but a proper old school running shop with staff who actually run and geek-out about running shoes.

Theyll be able to look at your running gait and suggest the right amount of support, cushioning, heel-to-toe drop etc you need in a running shoe to accommodate your individual biomechanics.

Free Rehab Guide

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Pfp Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome causes pain under and around the knee. The pain often gets worse with walking, kneeling, squatting, going up or down stairs, or running. It may also hurt after sitting with a bent knee for a long time, such as in a long car ride or in a movie theater.

Some people with PFP syndrome feel a “popping” or creaking after getting up from sitting or when going up or down stairs.

What Is Jumpers Knee

Jumpers knee also called patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when a tendon is overloaded, causing it to thicken. I see this most often in younger patients who complain about pain in the front of the knee.

It can be especially painful when you squat, jump or land. Jumpers knee typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood.

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Front Or Side Location Is The Main Obvious Difference Between It Band And Patellofemoral Pain

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two conditions is simply by the location of the symptoms. PFPS affects the kneecap and surrounding area, whereas ITBS definitely affects primarily the side of the knee .

The location of PFPS is less predictable, but it usually still has an anterior epicentre. ITBS does not spread much beyond its hot spot on the side of the knee.

ITBS has a specific definition: it refers only to strong pain on the side of the knee, at or just above the lateral epicondyle. Pain in the hip or thigh is something else. For more detail about this common point of confusion, see IT Band Pain is Knee Pain, Not Hip Pain

Ow! Damn! The side of my knee hurts!

every single IT band syndrome victim ever

Prevent Knee Pain From Running 4 Lean Forward

Reduce Anterior Knee pain when Running

If your knees are in pain while running, it could be that you need to change your formmore specifically, your trunk position.

In fact, according to this research paper published in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, an increased trunk flexion may decrease compressive forces on the patellofemoral joint.

In English: a slight forward lean while running reduces the load placed on the knees, which, in turn, cuts the risks of discomfort and injury at the joint.

The Process?

Opting for a slight forward lean while running may help shift your weight from the knees to the hip, thus reducing impact forces on the knees.

That said, getting the slight forward lean right is a bit tricky.

Here is how to do it right:

Make sure that the lean, or the fall, is coming from the ankles, not the hips.

It should feel almost like youre falling forward.

You should not feel broke nor bent at the trunk.

Allow your torso to come a bit forwardat least seven to ten degrees, according to the before mentioned researchwhile simultaneously flexing your hips and lower abdominals subtly.

In other words, opt for a mild lean, not a complete bent-over position.

Think skiers stance.

Here is an awesome YouTube Tutorial

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How To Relieve Knee Pain From Running

No matter what type of knee pain from running issue you suffer from, remember these simple steps to manage or relieve it.

  • Rest first, dont push your body
  • Incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine
  • Talk to professionals for help retraining your gait or getting the right shoes
  • Work with a physical therapist to correct underlying issues
  • Talk to a pain doctor to get a correct diagnosis and additional treatment options

If you suffer from ongoing and severe knee pain from running, it may also be due to other conditions, like a sprain, tear, or bursitis. If you experience this type of pain, or any sudden onset of symptoms, tingling, throbbing, numbness, extreme swelling, clicking, or locking, talk to a doctor to rule out other causes. Click the button below to find a pain doctor in your area who can help.

What Are Runners Legs

Youll probably say no problem. The runner would have the lean, straight legs with angular quads, lean hips but little definition in their outer glutes, and tight rears but not especially lifted ones. The dancer would have the curvier legs, the defined, lifted glutes, and the more compact, firmer looking muscles.

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How Should I Treat Runners Knee

Treatment for runners knee depends on the specific problem that is causing the pain. Fortunately, runners knee rarely requires surgery, and most cases heal in time. Regardless of the cause of your particular case of runners knee, here are some things you should do at the first sign of pain:

  • Stop doing activities that hurt your knee. This means no running, cycling, or skiing until the pain goes away and you can resume your activities without pain.
  • Use the RICE formula as soon as you can:
  • Rest: Try to avoid putting weight on your knee as much as you can.

  • Ice: Use a bag of ice wrapped in a towel or cold compress to help reduce swelling.

  • Compress: Wear an elastic bandage or snug-fitting knee sleeve with the kneecap cut out.

  • Elevate: Lie down and keep your knee raised higher than your heart.

  • Take anti-inflammatory medications. Painkillers such as ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling in the knee.
  • Do stretching and strengthening exercises. Once the pain and swelling subside, talk with your doctor about an exercise program to improve your knees strength and flexibility.
  • Get arch supports for your shoes. If flat feet are the cause of your runners knee, your doctor may recommend orthotics or special inserts to help alleviate the pain.
  • On rare occasions, someone might need surgery for runners knee. If your doctor decides this is your best option, he or she may recommend one of two surgeries:

    Reviewed by: Kathleen B. OBrien, MDDate reviewed: June 2013

    What Are The Symptoms Of Runner’s Knee

    How to reduce knee pain when running

    These are the most common symptoms of runner’s knee:

    • Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active. Or pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.

    • Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear when you bend and straighten your knee

    • Kneecap that is tender to the touch

    The symptoms of runner’s knee may look like other conditions and health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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    Stretches That Help Runners Knee

    In many cases, patellofemoral pain syndrome originates from tissues that are too tight. As a result, these tissues will alter the mechanics of your knee joint and produce pain and swelling. Here are few stretches that can help you reduce your pain:

    Iliotibial Band Foam Roll

    • Lay on your side and place the foam roll under the bottom leg
    • Start with the foam roll near your knee
    • Slowly move your body down towards the foam roll using your arms and leg
    • Slowly roll up and down the band until you start to sense of release in tension

    Quadriceps stretch

    • Stand with one hand on the wall for balance
    • Lift your ankle up towards your buttock and grab your ankle
    • Pull your ankle upwards until a stretch is felt along the front of the thigh
    • Hold until you begin to sense a release in tension

    Hamstring stretch

    • Sit on a chair with one foot forward and one foot back
    • Straighten your back and bend through your hips
    • Continue until you start to sense a stretch along the back of the leg that is further forward
    • Hold until you begin to sense a release in tension

    Calf stretch

    • Stand in a lunge position with both hands on the wall
    • Keep the back heel against the floor and lunge forward
    • Continue until a stretch is felt in the calf region of the back leg
    • Hold until you begin to sense a release in tension

    Symptoms Of Runners Knee

    The most common symptom of runners knee is tenderness or pain behind or on the sides of the patella, usually toward the center or back of the knee where the thighbone and kneecap meet. In addition, the knee might be swollen.

    The pain will generally feel worse when bending the knee when walking, kneeling, squatting, or running, for example. Walking or running downhill or even down a flight of steps also can lead to pain if someone has runners knee. So can sitting for a long period of time with your knee bent, such as in a movie theater.

    In some cases, someone with runners knee may notice a popping or cracking sensation in the knee, as well as a feeling that the knee may be giving out.

    If it goes untreated for a long period of time, runners knee can damage the cartilage of the knee and hasten the development of arthritis.

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    Hip Exercises To Relieve Knee Pain

    There is a strong relationship between hip strength and knee pain, which is why runners who suffer from chronic knee issues, like patellofemoral pain syndrome are often given exercises to strengthen their hip abductors and hip extensors. If your knees are giving you trouble, or if you want to prevent future knee problems, add these four exercises into your regular strength routine.

    Why the hips?

    The reason hip strength is so closely tied to knee pain is because of the way your body moves as you run. In the stance phase of your running gait, the gluteus medius and your gluteus maximus help prevent your pelvis from dropping to one side. If these muscles are weak, your hips will drop momentarily with every step you take, causing your knees to cave inward. This causes compression of the knee cap, which over time, leads to knee pain.


  • Lie on one side with your knees bent and your legs stacked on top of each other.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift the top knee up as far as you can go without moving your hips.
  • Pause at the top, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg.
  • Add a resistance band to make this exercise more challenging.
  • Side-lying hip abduction

  • Lie down on one side with your top leg extended straight out and your bottom knee bent.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your leg into the air as high as you can without moving your hip.
  • Hip bridges

    Banded crab walks

    Beware Of Bracing Overuse

    Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain While Running Part 1

    Bracing for pain restricts your bodys natural flow and function. Braces provide support in some cases, and are fine to use after knee surgery. But relying on knee braces can cause further weakness in those muscles and can cause other knee problems.

    Avid runners or athletes should use braces only to help get back to their normal activity after surgery, and then, if possible, wean off them so the body can maintain normal muscle strength and motor control on its own.

    For an in-office or telehealth video appointment with a Virtua sports medicine specialist, call 888-847-8823.

    March 1, 2021Filed Under: Tagged With: , , IT band, knee pain, orthopedic surgeon, runners knee,

    Whether youre a long-time runner or just starting out, having sore muscles after a run is normal. But if you are experiencing knee pain after running, something more serious could be wrong. Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Zach Logan explains common reasons your knee may hurt after running on .

    Runners knee, or patellofemoral syndrome is one of the most common types of knee pain among runners. The pain is located nearly always in the center of the front of the knee, says Dr. Logan. This pain can be a result of the knee cap not tracking properly over the thigh bone or from not getting enough rest between runs. If the muscles around the kneecap are weak or tight, this can also cause runners knee.

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    Dont Depend On Cushioned Shoes To Fix Your Knees

    It is always better to fix any problems with your running form, from the inside out. Hence, the better option is to practice and adopt a proper running form instead of depending on cushioned running shoes, which may even exacerbate knee problems.

    Overall, it is a good idea to go for one of the low-profile neutral shoes, that offer you basic support in running and try taking shorter stride for lesser impact. Make sure to give your body the time it needs to adjust towards a softer landing.

    How Is Pfp Syndrome Treated

    Someone with patellofemoral pain syndrome needs to limit or completely avoid activities that cause pain. Sometimes a change in training is all that’s needed. For example, someone who usually runs hills to train can try running on a flat, soft surface instead.

    A person who has severe pain or pain that interferes with activity needs to rest the knee until the pain is better.

    For pain:

    • Put ice or a cold pack on the knee every 12 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Put a thin towel between the ice and your skin to protect it from the cold.
    • You can take ibuprofen or naproxen . Follow the directions that come with the medicine for how much to take and how often. Do not take this medicine for longer than about 23 weeks.

    An important part of the treatment for PFP syndrome is improving the strength and flexibility of the legs, hips, and core muscles. Health care providers usually recommend going to a physical therapist to make an exercise plan that will help. The plan may include stretching, squats, planks, lunges, and other exercises that improve strength and flexibility of the legs and hips.

    The health care provider might also recommend:

    • a knee brace

    It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes surgery is needed for PFP syndrome.

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