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Understanding Runner's Knee: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention Tips

Runner's knee, medically termed as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common ailment among fitness enthusiasts, particularly those who engage in activities like running, jumping, or squatting. It's that frustrating ache around or behind the kneecap that makes every step feel like a small battle. But fear not, for understanding the ins and outs of this condition is the first step toward conquering it.


What Causes Runner's Knee?

Runner's knee is often the result of repetitive stress on the knee joint, leading to irritation and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the patella. This can be caused by factors such as:

  • Overuse: Engaging in high-impact activities without proper rest can strain the knee joint.

  • Muscle Imbalances: Weakness or tightness in the muscles around the knee can affect its alignment and stability. You shouldn't have skipped leg day...

  • Poor Biomechanics: Issues with foot alignment or gait can put undue stress on the knee joint.

  • High Bodyweight: For every kilogram of bodyweight, your knees have to cope with 4x that amount with every step. If you're 20kg overweight, your knees have to deal with 80kg more force during walking alone. Your knees aren't going to like you if you think it's a good idea to run a 5k on a Sunday morning.

How To Treat Runner's Knee?

Treating runner's knee involves a combination of rest, rehabilitation, and lifestyle adjustments. Here are some steps you can take to alleviate symptoms:

  • Rest: Give your knees a break from activities that aggravate the pain. This might mean scaling back on your running mileage or opting for low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling.

  • Ice and Elevation: Applying ice packs to the affected area and elevating the leg can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. The science hasn't backed this fully, but for some on you it might work, so give it a try.

  • Strengthening Exercises: Focus on strengthening the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, to improve joint stability and function.

  • Orthotics: Consider using orthotic inserts or supportive footwear to correct biomechanical issues and alleviate pressure on the knee.

Preventing Is The Best Medicine

Preventing runner's knee involves taking proactive measures to protect and support your knee joints:

  • Gradual Progression: Build up your exercise intensity and mileage gradually to give your body time to adapt and strengthen.

  • Cross-Training: Incorporate a variety of activities into your routine to reduce repetitive stress on the knees. Combining resistance training and running is the best to prevent runner's knee

  • Proper Form: Pay attention to your running or workout form, ensuring that you maintain good posture and alignment to reduce strain on the knees.

  • Quality Footwear: Invest in supportive, well-fitted shoes that provide adequate cushioning and stability for your feet and knees. Go to your local running store and let an expert look at your form to get the right shoes.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any early warning signs of discomfort or pain and address them promptly to prevent exacerbation.

While runner's knee can be a frustrating setback for active individuals, it is not a roadblock. With the right approach to treatment and prevention, you can overcome this obstacle and get back to doing what you love with strength and resilience. If you need any help with your knee injury, feel free to contact The Physio Trainer. The Physio Trainer can help you get rid of runner's knee through a personalized approach with physio expertise. Don't hestitate and take action towards a pain-free life!

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