Common causes of knee pain when running

So you're here because you have knee pain? Maybe you've started running due to lock-down or maybe you're a seasoned athlete. Either way, knee pain is incredibly hard to ignore and even harder to continue performing with.  Here we will discuss the three most common causes of knee pain that we see in clinic including; how it feels, the science and how to treat them. 

Knee pain when running is incredibly common, research suggests it accounts for over 40% of all running related injuries and it's not hard to imagine why. Scientist have concluded that up to 7 x body-weight can be transferred through the structures of the knee whilst running. If I asked you to squat with 500kg on your back, your knees would certainly no about it! 

IT Band Syndrome 

How it feels?

Pain on the outside of the knee- often worse in the early stages of a run and when running up hill.

The Science

The IT band (a thick fibrous structure running down the outside of the thigh) becomes tight causing friction against the bony surfaces on the outside of the knee. 

Help!

  • Foam roll IT Band -
  • Strengthen Glutes 
  • Ice for 15 minutes every day 

Jumpers Knee (Patella Tendinopathy) 

How it feels?

Superficial knee pain just below the knee cap- often worse in the early stages of a run and when running downhill. 

The Science

The load going through the patella tendon has exceeded it's strength. Have you increased your distances, frequency or speed recently? 

Help!

Runners Knee (Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome) 

How it feels?

Deeper central knee pain underneath the knee cap- often worsens as the run progresses and is sore the following day. 

The Science

Due to your alignment, as your running the patella is moving around in its groove. This irritates the structures underneath.

Help!

  • Correct muscle imbalances - ideally you want a professional gait assessment here!
  • Increase your step rate- aim for 170+ BPM, you can use a metronome app for this Click here to view the app 
  • Ice for 15 minutes everyday 

So there you have it! Three common injuries and how to start treating them. An issue not addressed in the blog is whether to continue running or not. Ideally, reducing mileage until you can complete the run pain free and with no associated pain for 24 hours after is the way forward. However, this is difficult to advise and greatly depends on the individual. If in doubt, sit it out and focus on your rehab. Alternative book in for a Telehealth appointment for more personalised advice & management.