Runner’s Knee


Post by Sam Donaldson, APA Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist

Want to know how to fix your knee pain while running? Knee pain while running is a regular presentation to the clinic.

Otherwise known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), chondromalacia patella, ITB (iliotibial band) syndrome, knee cap pain and more, this problem is relatively common for runners with nearly 1/3 of us suffering it at some stage.

It is more common in women, particularly over the age of 30 and more common if overweight.

Typically, it comes about after a period of increased physical activity, whether that is running or any other activity that involves bending the knee!

Along with increased use of the knee, some other risk factors include change in footwear, surface change and a previous injury.

It’s also thought that the way you run and weaknesses in certain muscles can impact the knee and result in pain.

There is currently mixed reports as to the role of biomechanics in risk of running injury.

This joint has a number of potential sources of pain, of which the cartilage tissue and the fat pad are most common.

So how do you treat the problem?

Depending on the stage of injury or severity of the pain, you may need a period of rest. This is rare!

Usually, you can keep running, however how you run and what distance, frequency and goal of the run might need some temporary change.

So what do we know helps?

  • Hip stabilizer strength
  • Hip extensor/ glute max strength
  • Quadricep and calf strength
  • Slight cadence increase

What may also help?

  • Taping of the knee
  • Temporary or permanent foot orthotics
  • Massage/ dry needling/ foam rolling

If you count your steps for one minute, then add 10% o that, this will often result in a reduction in your symptoms! On top of that, the strength of your lower limbs and hips will better absorb the forces of your body over the ground.

Not only will it help pain, but the strength will probably help your speed in the end!

Exercises for knee pain in runners can be as simple or as complex as desired. Check in with your physiotherapist to work out a plan for you!

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