running on road

Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a condition that many people suffer from. Despite what its name implies, it’s not an ailment that’s exclusive to runners. Other activities such as basketball, football, or even walking can exacerbate it. 

This condition can bring pain and discomfort in front of your kneecap, affecting your stride and daily functioning. Knowing its symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options is essential if you want to prevent it from occurring or worsening. With that said, here is a helpful guide to runner’s knee:

The Symptoms of Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a common condition that brings about a dull ache within the kneecap or patella. The pain usually persists in front of the knee, but it may also occur behind or around it. It may feel notably worse following certain activities such as walking, squatting, getting up from a chair, running, or kneeling. Walking downstairs and downhill can also worsen the pain.

Some patients also report hearing and feeling some grinding, clicking, or rubbing in this area, particularly when they bend and straighten their knees. The knee may even become swollen or feel tender to the touch.

Possible Causes of Runner’s Knee

There are many possible causes of runner’s knee. It could either be due to lifestyle factors, other conditions, or structural defects. Here are some of its most common causes:

  • Too Much Stress on the Knee: Runner’s knee often occurs in highly active individuals because of overuse. Repeatedly bending the knees (such as in running and other intense exercises) can cause too much stress on the area, wearing out some of the tissues without allowing them to recover. Injuries may also occur due to improper running techniques or inadequate warmups.


  • Weakness or Imbalances in the Muscles: The quadriceps, the muscles in front of your thigh, help keep your patella in place. Any defect or imbalance in these muscles can cause problems with your knees. Issues with other muscles between the hips and ankles can also affect the placement of the patella.


  • Knee Trauma or Injury: Falls or blows to the knee can cause significant impacts on your patella. The area may suffer from inflammation or other damages that can contribute to the pain.


  • Structural Defects: Even if most of us don’t overuse our muscles, many of us develop some structural problems in our bones. Poorly-aligned kneecaps, knocked knees, hyperextension, flat feet, high arches, and shallow grooves on your femur can contribute to the development of runner’s knee.

Runner’s Knee Treatments

In most cases, patients can recover on their own. To help relieve the pain and swelling, you may opt to take NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen. Elevating your knee while you rest, applying ice on the area, and wrapping elastic bandages around the knee can also help with recovery. If symptoms persist, however, it may be time to contact your healthcare provider.

Prevent Injuries through Running Assessments

Problems with your knees can cause a wealth of other issues in your daily life. While runner’s knee may be a pain to deal with, knowing its symptoms, causes, and treatments can help provide better insight into the problem. With this, you’ll be better equipped to recover from the condition and avoid it in the future.

One of the best ways to prevent runner’s knee is by assessing your running gait. If you’re looking for running analysis in Bondi Beach, Australia, Invigor Health has you covered. We offer an assessment that will help you analyse your running technique and provide you with insight into improving it. It’s a practical way to improve your performance and prevent injuries—contact us today!

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