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What runners need to know about runner's knee

If you try to live an active lifestyle, chances are, you have either gone running, or running is a part of the sport you like to play. While running can be great for helping boost your mood and increasing your cardio, injuries can happen if you’re an avid runner. One of the most common injuries from running is known as “Runner’s Knee”.

What exactly is Runner’s Knee, and what causes it?

Runner’s knee is the common term for having pain around the front of the knee, called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This can sometimes cause weakness or instability, and in some cases, a grinding or clicking sound when you bend or straighten the knee. Don’t just take our word for it though- it’s best to speak to a physician or care provider in order to get a proper diagnosis.


Runner’s Knee can be caused from a variety of different factors:

  • Overuse. Repetitive movements or exercises that strain the knee can lead to pain and irritation, e.g., walking, running, skiing, and biking.

  • Injury. Trauma or a hard blow to the knee may cause the kneecap to damage or shift out of place.

  • Mis-alignment or your bones are not lined up. If any of your bones from the ankles to the hips aren't in their proper position, including your kneecap, this may put too much strain on specific areas. Then your kneecap will have difficulties moving through its groove, ultimately causing pain.

  • Chondromalacia patella. It's a health complication in which the cartilage beneath your kneecap breaks down. This can cause pain and irritation.

  • Tight muscles, especially in the hamstrings or Achilles tendons, or weak thigh muscles.


Maintaining healthy joints while working out is vital to reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with Patellofemoral pain syndrome. But if you're already in pain, a physical therapist may be able to help!

Physical Therapy for Runner’s Knee

Physical therapy is a practical treatment choice for people suffering from runner's knee. This is because physical therapy is centered around stretching and strengthening, and many people find that physical therapy is a great alternative to surgery or painkillers. The physical therapists here at BC + PT are able to help guide you through specific exercises as well as apply other techniques that you can only find at your appointments.

Physical therapists help reduce pain through manual therapy, different exercises, and, if your specific injury will benefit from it, the occasional application of electrical stimulation. Movement and gait training are also common for people with overuse injuries. Stretching and strengthening exercises can enhance the plasticity of the muscles around your knee, ankle, and hip to reduce excess strain on your knee and kneecap. Beyond these advantages, physical therapists may also educate their patients on lifestyle changes to prevent this condition from recurring. For instance, they could suggest workouts that won't overstress your knee joint or some postural modifications to protect the knee during exercising and running.

Physical Therapy for Runners in Buffalo

If you have been experiencing Runner’s Knee, and especially if it is starting to prevent you from running, playing sports, or just moving around in general, it is time to stop waiting, and start healing. Give us a call today ( or fill out our contact form) to see if we can help get you up and running again!


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