Skip to navigation Skip to Content

​Runner’s knee a common ailment

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Patellofemoral pain is the most common overuse injury among runners. It is generally referred to as “runner’s knee.” 

Causes for the condition vary:
  • Incorrect alignment of the knee cap
  • Worn cartilage in the knee joint
  • High arched feet or flat feet
  • Muscle strength (weakness) or imbalance
  • Repeated knee bending

Runner’s knee symptoms include tenderness behind or around the kneecap, a sense of cracking, a sensation that the knee is “giving out,” and pain when going up or down stairs. It can affect one or both knees and has a greater occurrence in women than men.

To help prevent runner’s knee, consider these tips in your training:

  • Keep activity increases to less than 10 percent per week
  • Run on softer surfaces
  • Gradually increase hill work
  • Wear proper shoes
  • Strengthen quadriceps and hip muscles while stretching hamstrings and calf muscles
  • Participate in non-impact activities such as swimming and biking

Should runner’s knee occur, treatment may include taping of the kneecap in an ideal position by a sports medicine professional, wearing a kneecap supportive brace and icing to control symptoms. In extreme situations, a surgical procedure may be necessary to correct a biomechanical problem such as incorrect alignment of the kneecap.

A sports medicine professional can provide an evaluation to help determine an appropriate course of treatment and future prevention.

​​

​​​Share comments or questions on this information email: sports.medicine@marshfieldclinic.org​.