Knee Pain

Runner’s Knee – symptoms, causes & exercises

Naaz worked as a quality control manager in a manufacturing firm. Her job profile made her regularly run from the manufacturing unit to the firm’s corporate office, and since both the sections were on different floors, she climbed the stairs back and forth. Naaz has always been health-conscious and took time for workouts or a small run. Despite all this, she soon starts experiencing prolonged pain in her knee and a weird clicking sound when she tries to go upstairs or walk a little longer. And all of this made her daily activities also a challenge for her. These symptoms alarmed her; without wasting time, she visited a doctor to find out what was wrong with her. The doctor ran some tests like blood tests and X-rays. After the tests, Naaz was diagnosed with minor Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Her doctor suggested some remedies for her problems.

Naaz took off from work, took a rest, and followed the instructions given by her doctor. 

Giving halt to Naaz’s story, one must try to understand what the syndrome is, how it occurs, and what exercises can help ease the pain.

What is Runner’s knee?

It is a painful sensation in and around the knee cap. Pain at the front or top region of the knee is frequently caused by a patellofemoral joint deformity referred to as “runner’s knee.” During knee movement, the patella (kneecap) glides along the femur (thigh bone) at the patellofemoral joint. It is the most prevalent running-related injury and a concern for many other sorts of athletes as well. It commonly affects runners or jumpers, as they usually tend to overwork their ligaments and tendons.

But again, this problem is not just limited to runners or athletes; instead, it can affect any and everyone depending on the kind of routine they have and how much physical activity they have in a day.

knee pain

Symptoms of the Runners’ knee

Here we have listed some symptoms that people suffering from Runner’s knee may suffer. But there could be more to this depending on individual to individual.

 The most common symptoms is a pain in and behind the knee, which may initially last for a day or so. The pain in this syndrome gradually worsens with time and level of activity. One may also notice a rubbing, grinding, or clicking feeling beneath the patella. The knee cap may be painful and become tender to touch when this problem is severe. In some rare cases, the pain might be accompanied by a little bit of swelling.

With this syndrome, the following movements become very painful :

  1. Sitting down

  2. Climbing stairs, especially coming down 

  3. Walking 

  4. Squatting 

  5. Jumping 

  6. Bending knees


Causes of the Runners’ knee

There can be several reasons for the pain to occur, like for Naaz, it was overworking; for others, it might be different. Here are the most common reasons for Runner’s knee pain.

Any irritation or damage to any tendon, cartilage, or ligament may be a major reason for the pain experienced in the knee. Another well-known reason is structural deformities in your bone anywhere from your thigh to your ankle. 

  • overtraining Knee

  • Injury on the kneecap

  • The kneecap is misaligned.

  • kneecap dislocation

  • flat foot 

  • Thigh muscles that are weak or tight

  • improper warm-up of the knee

  • Arthritis 

  • fracture

  • Past Knee injuries 

  • Weak thigh muscles might cause the kneecap to be excessively high in the joint.

  • Hamstring and tendon tightness

  • Inappropriate footwear Actions in which the thigh muscles force the kneecap outward constantly

Despite these causes, it can be cured, or the conditions can be improved by taking some steps and performing some exercises. 


The best-known treatment for the Runner’s knee is RICE. Indeed eating some won’t harm but following the RICE protocol would benefit you more.

  • Rest: take the weight off your knees and rest it for a while. In this condition, the pain reduces with rest.

  • Ice: apply a cold gel pad, ice pack, or even frozen pea to reduce pain and swelling. Do not put heat on the knee.

  • Compression: use a bandage or knee sleeve to compress your knee. Do not tie it too tight, or it might cause swelling in your leg.

  • Elevation: keep your knee elevated by placing a pillow under it.


Exercises for Runners Knee

There are certain moves or exercises that can help you reduce the discomfort in your knee when performed over time. Remember that these should not be performed immediately when you feel pain. These are just preventive measures and NOT curative measures.

  1. Marching Hip Bridge  


  • Lie on your back with your knees shoulder width apart.

  • Bend your knees, take support from your toes and then lift your pelvis up, getting in a bridge position

  • Now lift each knee one after the other  in order to do the marching action; use your arms to support your hips.

  • Repeat for 30 seconds and do up to three sets.

  1. Clamshell


  • Lie on your side, with your knees stacked on each other, feet together, and one of your arms supporting your head and the other in front of your chest. 

  • Now anchor the movement from your feet and open your knee

  • Turn to the other side & repeat the action.

  • Repeat it for 30 seconds and do up to 3 sets.

3. Straight Leg extension


  • Lie on your back, spread your leg shoulder width apart and rest your arms next to your hips.

  • Fold your left  knee, tighten your core, and raise your right leg at a 45 degree angle.

  • Now, bring the leg and raise the other leg. 

  • Repeat for 10 seconds and do up to 3 sets each.

4. Hamstring stretch


  • Lie on your back with your leg and arms shoulder width apart.

  • Now bring your left leg in and hold your stretch while you hold your leg with your arms for up to 15 seconds 

  • Repeat it on the other side and do up to 3 sets 

  1. Isometric kneecap contraction

Isometric kneecap contraction


  • Sit upright with your legs in front of you

  • Place a pillow under your knee 

  • Pull your kneecaps towards your body, and as you do it naturally, your toes will be stretched towards you.

  • keep the position for 20 seconds and then repeat 4 -5 times. 

Note: Do not overdo the exercises and stop immediately if you feel any kind of pain.

Our knee is crucial for our daily movements, and when those actions are restricted because of pain, it can be disheartening. But there is no problem you can solve or can’t get over, so keep patience while you do things to change yourself for the better. 

Written By

Kanak Tiwari

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