A very common part of fitness life for many runners is suffering from the dreaded ‘runners knee’.  Runners knee can be used to describe a number of different conditions, all of which have one thing in common: knee pain.

The pain you feel may be at the side of the knee, the front of the knee, or the back of the knee – it’s very individual and dependent on what is causing the pain to occur.

Let’s look at what causes runners knee and how you can overcome it.

Too Much

One of the most common reasons for developing runners knee is doing too much, too soon for instance or not scheduling enough rest time between training sessions. This is why using an actually trainer such as the 10km or half marathon trainer will serve you well. Rest days are built right in to help avoid this.

Trauma To The Knee

Another cause of this fitness injury is a simple trauma to the knee. This is less common than overuse, and will occur if you suffer a fall or blow to the knee.

These ‘freak injuries’ are very frustrating and can often be completely debilitating until you are recovered and can get back at it.

Improper Knee Tracking

Another reason you may start suffering knee pain is due to improper tracking of the knee. This is a situation where the knee cap is not moving over the knee as it should and instead, is moving toward one of the sides.

This can then cause certain parts of the knee to bare more weight than they should, leading to grinding and pain.

This can sometimes occur due to weak thigh muscles, which mean that the knee cap is pulled in one direction over the other.   If you are new to running and haven’t done much strength training work, this could very well be the reason for your pain.

Foot Problems

Finally, the last reason you may suffer from runner’s knee would be due to foot problems. If you have a very high or low arch for instance and aren’t running in a shoe that’s properly designed to accommodate this food structure, this can then lead to pain over time.

Seeing a podiatrist who will likely fit you in a pair of custom orthotics is the best way to get around this problem.

So now that you know the main reasons why runner’s knee develops, how can you strive to overcome it?


As much as you may hate to hear it, rest is often the only cure for runner’s knee. Taking time off to allow the tendons, ligaments, or muscles to heal that are involved will be required. Some runners may turn to physiotherapy or massage therapy while taking time off in order to help speed up the recovery process and start feeling better again sooner.


As you are taking time off, resting the affected area can also help. This will bring down the level of inflammation present, which is in part responsible for causing the pain.

Be sure to ice 20 minutes three to four times a day during the initial three days or so after the injury has started to occur.

Taking over the counter anti-inflammatories may also assist with reducing the pain, but be careful to watch how many of these you take as they can also have unwanted side effects.

Strengthening Exercises

Performing strengthening exercises will also be paramount of there is a muscle weakness at play causing the pain.  Your physiotherapist will likely give you some strengthening exercises to perform, so do these while you are recovering.

And then, once you do get back into your fitness plan again, make sure to keep up those exercises as a prevention method.


Finally, as you do ease back into running again, you may wish to consider compression therapy.  Wearing a knee brace or compression shorts can sometimes help runners who suffer from knee pain as it’ll give their knee additional support and help keep it tracking properly.

You may also find that you recover faster from your runs wearing these as well as they will speed up blood flow to and from the muscle tissues surrounding the knees and in the legs.

So there you have a few key facts to know about runner’s knee. It’s a very frustrating injury but one that can be overcome with rest, smart therapy measures, and careful prevention once you get back at it.

Have you ever suffered from runner’s knee? How did you get past it? Post your comments below!







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