How to Prevent Runner’s Knee?

Knee, Blog, / By Winsen Citra

Do you have pain in and around the kneecap when you run, climb stairs, or are just being active? Or, do you have pain when you sit for too long with the knees bent? Is this accompanied with some feeling of weakness and instability? Do you hear grinding, rubbing, or clicking noise when you bend or straighten your knee? If this all sounds familiar to you, then you might have runner’s knee.This is a very common condition that a lot of people experience. The funny thing is, quite a lot of people suffering from this aren’t even runners. The good news is, this is a very preventable condition and I will share with you how you can prevent runner’s knee.

What is Runner’s Knee?

Okay. I lied to you. Runner’s knee is not a real condition. It is actually just a term that is used to describe any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. These conditions are anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, chondromalacia patella, and iliotibial band syndrome.

Like I mentioned earlier, running is often not the cause of runner’s knee. Any activity that cause repeated impacts on the knee can lead to runner’s knee. These can include walking, cycling, going up stairs, and repeated bending.

If you think you have runner’s knee, it is important to make sure you know which condition you are suffering from. The treatment for each of the conditions I listed earlier is different. Because of that, make sure you get your knee checked out at the doctor’s or with your local physiotherapist.

Runner's Knee
Figure 1. Areas of Pain for Runner’s Knee

What Causes it?

Runner’s knee is caused by irritation or structural defect to the soft tissue surrounding the knee joint. This could be the cartilage that is lining the joint, the tendons or the ligament. Other contributing factors include:

  • Kneecap misalignment
  • Kneecap sitting too high on the knee
  • Overuse
  • Flat feet
  • Thigh muscles imbalance
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Tight muscles in the thigh, hip, or ankles

How to Prevent Runner’s Knee

If you think that you’re at risk of getting runner’s knee, here are some ways that you can prevent it:

  • Stay in shape – weighing more means that more force will go through your knees as you do any activities.Staying in shape helps to reduce those forces which means you’re less likely to get knee pain.
  • Warm up before exercise – a lot of the time, because we don’t warm up your muscles get overly tense when you exercise. This adds stress as you go through your activities. Proper stretching and warm up helps to mitigate this.
  • Pacing – gradually increasing your training volume and intensity helps your muscles get used to the load and not get overused. If you abruptly increase the intensity of your training, you run the risk of injuring yourself and causing irritation to your tissues due to overuse.
  • Proper footwear – this is especially important if you have other conditions such as being flat footed. Using the proper footwear for the activity and terrain helps you maintain a more normal gait where less stress will be placed on the knees. You may even want to consider wearing orthotics.
  • Get your running form analysed – you may or may not want to get a professional to do this for you. If you have a video camera, you can do a simple analysis on your own form. The idea is you want to keep your body leaning slightly forward with your knees bent while running. Keep a tight core to prevent yourself from leaning too far forward or backward, and keep your knees bent.

Below is a quick exercise to help with your hip stability which will help stabilise your knee when you run, hence preventing runner’s knee. If you have further questions, drop us a message ! You can follow our blog or YouTube channel to get more useful tips and tricks.