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What are the available runner's knee treatments?

  • 5 min read


    Runner's knee is a common overuse injury. This means that it occurs as a result of repetitive use. It results from excessive strain placed on the patellofemoral joint - it's a joint that connects the kneecap to the thigh bone. This condition is also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS).

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    What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

    Runner's knee affects women more often because women have different hip-width and thigh length proportions than men, which can put additional strain on the knee joint when exercising. 

    running match

    The condition manifests as pain behind the kneecap that worsens with activity and eases with rest. 

    The symptoms of a runner’s knee may include: 

    • A popping sensation when rising after a prolonged sitting period, such as when getting out of bed in the morning or from a chair at work
    • Sudden knee pain during or after strenuous activity
    • Discomfort behind the kneecap worsens with activity and eases with rest
    • Grating or grinding sensation when moving the knee joint

    What are the causes of runner’s knee? 

    Some of the risk factors for runner's knee are: 

    • Poor alignment of bones.If your bones are not properly lined up spanning from your hips to your ankles, this causes increased pressure on certain areas including the patella. If the kneecap doesn’t move smoothly through its groove, it can cause pain.
    • Overuse. Doing high-stress activities like lunges or running may irritate the tissues in your knee cap. 
    • Obesity. Having the extra weight on may put pressure and stress on your knees. 
    • Feet problems. Having certain feet problems like flat feet, overpronation, and having hypermobile feet may change the way you walk that can lead to knee pain. 
    • Weak thighs. If you have weak thigh muscles (which are responsible for keeping your kneecap in place) or they're tight, your kneecap won’t stay in the right spot.
    girl suffering from runners knee symptoms


    Runner's Knee Treatment

    There are multiple treatment options for the runner's knee. Treatment will focus on reducing symptoms and improving function through:

    • Rest until it feels better
    • Anti-inflammatories including ibuprofen or naproxen
    • Applying ice or cold packs on the area
    • Physical therapy exercises
    • Strengthening and stretching exercises
    • Taping with kinesiology tape
    • Quadriceps strengthening ballistic exercises
    • Better running form (to avoid pain at top of foot strike)

    If the runner's knee does not go away with these treatments, surgery can be done to remove the fat pad around the patella tendon beneath the knees (viscosupplementation).

    Kinesiology Taping for Runner’s Knee

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    Kinesiology taping has become more and more popular over the years to help medical professionals treat their patients. If you’re new to it, you can read all about the basics of kinesiology taping in our blog. You can also learn all its benefits here

    Done reading? Let’s get taping! 

    1. Measure out your tape by lacing it right below your knee bone. Cut it to the right length and don’t forget to round your edges. 
    2. Next, extend the knee and make sure that it stays relaxed. Take your tape and put 100% tension to the middle of the tape. Apply the tape with 0% tension on the ends. 
    3. Rub in the tape to activate the adhesive. 

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    Is it okay to run with a runner's knee?

    Yes, you can still run if you have runner's knee, BUT you should go about it with less intensity. You should avoid long runs and avoid upping your speed. 

    However, if you’re experiencing intense pain, we suggest stopping altogether and resting for a period. Should you still want to move without aggravating your condition, you can try low-impact exercises including cardio. This will help promote healing by increasing blood flow to the muscles. It will also help prepare your body to go back to running.

    We want to note that we are not medical experts. We highly advise you to visit a physician or a physical therapist and have your condition evaluated by a specialist to get the best course of action. 

    What is the difference between a runner’s knee and a jumper’s knee?

    Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) happens when the kneecap swerves away from the patellar groove. Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis), on the other hand, occurs when the tendon that connects the shinbone to the kneecap becomes inflamed. 

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      How do you prevent a runner’s knee? 

      Runner’s knee is painful and can put a damper on your active lifestyle. Here are some ways that you can prevent it from developing in the first place: 

      exercises for runners knee

      • Keep a healthy weight
      • Stretch your leg before and after running or doing any sort of activity involving the legs
      • Have good running shoes
      • Slowly increase your training intensity.
      • Strengthen your leg muscles


      As you can see, runner's knee is a common and often debilitating condition. Knowing the symptoms and causes of this ailment will help you to avoid it in the future or know when to seek professional treatment. 

      With these tips on how to prevent runner's knee, we hope that we've helped! If not, don't worry--we're always here for you with articles like this one that provide information about what solutions exist should your pain continue.

      You can even check out our blog for more helpful tips! 

      If you are dealing with chronic pain from this injury then it is time to consult a medical professional such as a physical therapist who will be able to prescribe an appropriate treatment plan that may include kinesiology taping as we discussed above. 

      We hope these tips helped!

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