Runners Knee - Part 2


  • For immediate treatment after an attack of runners knee, try the faithful RICE method and some over-the-counter pain relief. Also anti–inflammatory gels are good and when applied to the area have two benefits- they help with pain, and the massaging can help those sore, tired muscles and bones

(Not sure about your knee pain? Click here and check your symptoms)

  • Taping the knee can help with tracking the kneecap movement, keeping it more central so it moves more smoothly. Kinesio tape placed over the patella tendon just below the knee cap does a good job of this; the tape is very comfortable, water resistant and stays on for days
  • Exercises and therapy to strengthen the quads and hamstrings will help to stabilise the kneecap
  • In more severe cases of runners knee where the kneecap is acutely misaligned, you may need a knee brace to hold it stable
  • For patella femoral syndrome (its technical term), surgery and steroid injections should only be considered as a last resort - although they are effective, steroid injections can damage the joint if you have too many

Running Tips HQ

For more research on knee pain read this article written by Jonathan Edge, a great insight into the reasons for knee pain (besides running) and what therapies can be employed.

Strength Exercises For Runners Knee:

If you strengthen the quad and hamstring muscles then you will have a much stronger, more stable knee which is less likely to become injured. These exercises can be done when rehabilitating an injured knee or they can be done to prevent the injury

Try some gentle exercises at first, then gradually introduce light ankle weights, then heavier ones if you are rehabilitating then see a physio-therapist first, or your doctor

strength training the quad

Knee Extensions (Quads)

Sit with your legs bent, extend one leg and hold out for 10 seconds. Then release the leg slowly down. Do 10 reps each side. Try not to push too hard on the back of the chair, let the thighs do the work

You can add a foot turn to this exercise. When the leg is extended rotate the foot outwards and hold for 5 sec, then turn it inwards and hold for hold for 5 sec. To make it harder add ankle weights

simple runners knee exercis

Knee Press (Quads)

Whilst sitting, put your foot on top of the other and simultaneously push down with the top foot and pull up with the bottom foot. Do 10 reps holding for a count of 5 each time, then swap the feet over and repeat

Knee Bridge With Chair (Hamstrings)

strong core helps runners kne

Lie on the floor with your heels on the seat of a chair so your legs are at a right angle. Dig in your heels and lift your bum and hips of the floor, try to make the line as straight as possible and don’t go so far that you are arching your back. Hold for 3 sec then slowly lower repeat 10 times

Try this with a stability (pilates) ball as you get stronger, it makes it much more difficult but is also more effective

strength training the hamstrings

Leg curls

If you go to the gym or have a multi-gym at home then leg curls are great for the hamstrings – start with a low weight at first and build up slightly as the hamstring gets stronger. When you get used to a certain weight consider doing more reps or faster reps rather than increasing weight – which still means a harder workout, but with less chance of straining ;-)

Last Word About Runners Knee…

Patella femoral syndrome can mean your knee is painful to run on or you can’t walk without pain – if so, stop running for a week. Put your feet up and do as little as possible

If, after a week’s rest, your knee pain has subsided, then try walking for an hour and if all systems are go, start walk-running (intervals of 2min running/walking) and build up your runs slowly

If the pain persists go and see a doctor and have it assessed

Lingering aches and pains are normal, but if the pain is sharp doing other things like strength training etc., then consider reducing your mileage to avoid the problem from getting worse. Even if you are slap-bang in the middle of marathon training, start by reducing your runs by half for one or two weeks and see if there is an improvement (often there is) – you’ll still be marathon-fit and your knee will thank you for it ;-)

To resolve runners knee make your knee stronger with regular strength training, remember to cross train and be mindful of your running technique

- Who knows, maybe (just maybe) your runners knee finally leave you in peace!

< Bact To Runners Knee Part 1

Other Strength Training Areas...

These strength training exercises can be done at home and without any equipment. We also look at the importance of strength training and what benefits they have – its all here!

Injury Prevention Page

A complete list of injury free running tips for the beginner runner, as well as essential reading for the mindful, experienced runner…