Runner’s knee – what is it and how can I treat it?

holding runners knee

What is runner’s knee?

As the name suggests, runner’s knee is one of, if not the most common injury experienced by runners. The injury is usually caused by repetitive strain on the knee joint as a result of running. As a high impact sport, running puts a lot of pressure on the knee joints, with every pound of your bodyweight putting 4 pounds of force on the knee with each foot strike.

This repeated pressure can cause the pain we refer to as runner’s knee. Symptoms include pain and inflammation at the front of the knee or behind the kneecap which can range from dull to severe.

How to treat runner’s knee

There are a few steps that runners with knee pain can take at home to treat the pain and recover in order to get back on the road. Firstly, if you are experiencing any knee pain you should stop running on it and allow your knee to rest. You can also apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help reduce the pain and swelling.

If the pain in your knee is severe or has not decreased after a week of rest, you should seek further advice from a doctor or physiotherapist.

Exercises to help with runner’s knee

Stretching properly, particularly before and after running, is one of the best ways to ease the strain on your knees and avoid injury. Standing quad stretches, calf stretches and hamstring stretches will all help to improve your strength and flexibility, helping to prevent runner’s knee and further damage to your knee joints.