3 Things to Know About Knee Pain for Runners

Seeking physiotherapy treatment for knee pain can help you relieve the symptoms and get back to running quickly. You need a thorough assessment and treatment to evaluate your specific injury and develop a treatment plan that is right for you. At Stittsville Sport Physio our physios will examine your joints and start your physio treatment.  Treatment will often include some strengthening exercises as well as mobility and flexibility exercises. Here are three things you need to know about knee pain in runners. 

1. There Are Various Causes of Knee Pain for Runners

Knee pain can be coming from: patellar tendinitis (jumpers’ knee), patellofemoral syndrome (PFS), iliotibial band syndrome, or osteoarthritis.

Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon that connects the shin and kneecap. It manifests as pain at the bottom of your kneecap where it meets the top of your shin.  The pain is often brought on when running or going up and down the stairs. The injury can be caused by overloading the tendon too quickly which sometimes occurs when a runner starts to increase their weekly mileage or starts working on running faster. 

Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain, can also occur if you are new to running or you are an experienced runner and you have changed your routine to add mileage. In some cases (called chondromalacia) the cartilage at the back of the kneecap may be affected. More commonly though the forces on the patella (due to some weak muscles and other tight muscles) will cause the patella to become irritated.  If you have this injury, you may feel pain when running, squatting, stairs or  kneeling. 

Iliotibial band syndrome is a pain in the outer part of your knee. The pain results from the iliotibial band repeatedly rubbing against the outer flare of the femur (thigh bone) when running.  Weakness around the hip is often found and strengthening here will often be part of the treatment plan.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that causes pain and stiffness around the knee, even when not running. Recreational running does not cause osteoarthritis.  OA affects the whole joint and risk factors for getting OA include: genetics, previous injury, sex, being overweight.  Symptoms of OA such as pain and stiffness can be improved with strengthening exercises and stretches.

Our focus during your first visit is on understanding the type of pain you’re experiencing. We begin our assessments with an interview, which helps us understand your current knee pain and past injuries. Our physiotherapists then perform full biomechanical examination of your knee to assess range of motion, strength and observe you doing various functional activities. These tests help us identify potential causes of knee pain and create effective treatment plans. 

2. Knee Pain Is Treatable 

With a proper treatment program, most knee pain won’t keep you off the road for a long time. Knee pain is treatable with exercise.  Depending on your specific assessment findings your physio may also suggest manual therapy or myofasical/ soft tissue techniques if indicated. 

Our physiotherapists provide in-person and virtual physio session. Whatever works best for you.  We evaluate all our clients’ progress regularly and adjust our recommendations depending on your pain level and progression.  

Our physiotherapists stay up to date with current treatment best practices by attending sports medicine rounds, symposiums and courses. We have presented at the National Capital Knee Symposium several times including most recently in September 2022.  We offer clients with arthritis the Good Life With Osteoarthritis Program (GLA:D). This is an evidence-based program that focuses on neuromotor training for arthritis patients to build strength in the lower body especially around the knee and hip.

3. Knee Pain Is Preventable 

Stittsville Sport Physio focuses not only on knee pain treatment but also on prevention. Our physiotherapists offer specialty programs focused on identifying movement problems that can cause knee pain. 

The Functional Movement Screening (FMS) is one such specialty program. This screening program helps identify  movement patterns like the active leg raise and deep squat, which can highlight problems in mobility and balance, allowing you to take corrective steps to prevent injuries. 

Seek Knee Pain Physio Treatment Solutions

A knee injury doesn’t have to sideline you. We can often offer ideas to change up your runs while you work on strength and flexibility issues identified during your assessment. This usually allows you to keep running (modified mileage or speed). Sometimes though a different activity may be suggested. 

Stittsville Sport Physio is dedicated to helping you get back to what you love doing as fast as possible. We offer evidence-based treatments to decrease your knee pain. If you aren’t currently having pain but are concerned about a previous injury possibly holding you back consider an assent will help to identify areas on which you can work. Book your appointment today to get on the path to full recovery.