Runner’s Knee


The term ‘runner’s knee’ is used due to the fact that joggers and runners are commonly susceptible to knee pain due to the repeated impact caused by running on hard surfaces.

What causes runner’s knee?

The injury is caused by the kneecap becoming misaligned. Ordinarily the kneecap sits in a groove and moves up or down as the knee straightens or flexes, however if the kneecap is slightly out of place it can rub against the edges of the groove in which it sits. As the kneecap rubs in a misaligned position, the cartilage around and behind the kneecap can wear away. Occasionally there will be a build up of fluid which can cause the area around the injury to swell, causing discomfort.

Where are when might I feel the pain of runner’s knee?

The pain of runner’s knee can be felt either behind the kneecap itself or at the back of the knee, and may develop after undertaking physical activity. You may also experience a grinding sensation around the kneecap area.

How is runner’s knee treated?

In order to prevent runner’s knee, it is important to strengthen the muscle which helps to hold the kneecap in position. This muscle is called the quadriceps, which aligns the kneecap to the centre of the groove.

What exercises will help runner’s knee?

While sitting, extend the legs in front of you keeping your heels on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscles and hold for a count of ten, before relaxing for a count of three. Repeat 10 times, several times a day.

Lying flat on your back, bend one knee to a 90 degree angle, while keeping your foot flat on the floor. While keeping it straight, lift the right leg to the level of the left knee. Hold while you count to three, then lower and repeat 10 times before chancing sides.

While sitting or lying on the floor, keep one leg straight and raise the foot around six inches up off the floor, holding for five seconds. Then lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat ten times.
Is there anything else I can do to prevent runner’s knee?

The jarring motion of running on roads and tracks can aggravate runner’s knee, and therefore it is important to wear good quality running shoes with adequate support. Running on softer surfaces such as grass can ease the symptoms and further prevent runner’s knee.


Runner’s Knee Exercises

Wall squat with a ball: Stand with your back, shoulders, and head against a wall. Look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your feet 3 feet from the wall and shoulder’s width apart. Place a soccer or basketball-sized ball behind your back. Keeping your back against the wall, slowly squat down to a 45-degree angle. Your thighs will not yet be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 10 times. Build up to 2 sets of 15.

Knee stabilization: Wrap a piece of elastic tubing around the ankle of your uninjured leg. Tie a knot in the other end of the tubing and close it in a door at about ankle height.

Stand facing the door on the leg without tubing and bend your knee slightly, keeping your thigh muscles tight. Stay in this position while you move the leg with the tubing straight back behind you. Do 2 sets of 15.

Turn 90 degrees so the leg without tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing away from your body. Do 2 sets of 15.
Turn 90 degrees again so your back is to the door. Move the leg with tubing straight out in front of you. Do 2 sets of 15.

Turn your body 90 degrees again so the leg with tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing across your body. Do 2 sets of 15.

Hold onto a chair if you need help balancing. This exercise can be made more challenging by standing on a firm pillow or foam mat while you move the leg with tubing.

Resisted terminal knee extension: Make a loop with a piece of elastic tubing by tying a knot in both ends. Close the knot in a door at knee height. Step into the loop with your injured leg so the tubing is around the back of your knee. Lift the other foot off the ground and hold onto a chair for balance, if needed. Bend the knee with tubing about 45 degrees. Slowly straighten your leg, keeping your thigh muscle tight as you do this. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15. If you need an easier way to do this, stand on both legs for better support while you do the exercise.

Standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed). Slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times. Do this exercise several times each day.

Clam exercise: Lie on your uninjured side with your hips and knees bent and feet together. Slowly raise your top leg toward the ceiling while keeping your heels touching each other. Hold for 2 seconds and lower slowly. Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.

Iliotibial band stretch, side-bending: Cross one leg in front of the other leg and lean in the opposite direction from the front leg. Reach the arm on the side of the back leg over your head while you do this. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times and then switch legs and repeat the exercise.


Posted on April 26, 2013, in Muscle energy, Soft Tissue, sport massage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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