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Talk to me about... Runner's Knee

Marathon runners rounding a corner

Runner's knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common injury that affects runners and other athletes. It is characterized by pain and discomfort around the patella or kneecap, which worsens with physical activity. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for runner's knee.

Causes: Runner's knee is often caused by overuse, which can occur due to various reasons, such as increasing training intensity too quickly, running on uneven surfaces, or using worn-out shoes. Weak quadriceps muscles, tight hamstrings, and poor running form are other factors that can contribute to the development of this condition.

Symptoms: The symptoms of runner's knee include pain and discomfort around the patella or kneecap, which can range from mild to severe. The pain may be worsened by activities such as running, jumping, or squatting, and can also be aggravated by sitting for long periods of time. Some people may also experience swelling, stiffness, and a popping or cracking sensation in the knee.

Treatment: Treatment for runner's knee usually involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and pain management techniques. The first step is to rest and avoid activities that aggravate the knee pain. Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be helpful for pain relief.

Physiotherapy can help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, which can help alleviate pain and prevent further injury. Exercises that focus on the quadriceps and hamstrings, such as leg extensions and hamstring curls, can be beneficial. Your physiotherapist may also recommend other treatments such as massage therapy or ultrasound therapy to help relieve pain and promote healing.

In some cases, orthotics such as shoe inserts or knee braces may be recommended to help support the knee joint and reduce stress on the patella. Surgery is rarely needed for runner's knee but may be considered in severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.

Prevention: Prevention is key to avoiding runner's knee. This can be achieved by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your training, maintaining proper running form, and wearing shoes with good cushioning and support. Stretching before and after exercise can also help prevent injury.

In conclusion, runner's knee is a common injury that can be caused by overuse, weak muscles, and poor form. Symptoms include pain and discomfort around the patella, which can be alleviated through rest, physical therapy, and pain management techniques. Prevention is key to avoiding runner's knee, so be sure to maintain proper form, wear supportive shoes, and gradually increase the intensity of your training. If you experience persistent knee pain, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

If you need help with the treatment or management of runner's knee, you can book in for an assessment at Front Foot Physiotherapy or, if you just want to have an initial chat about options, please feel free to get in touch at


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