Why Are You Getting Knee Pain When Running

Don’t just put a plaster over it!

There is lots of valuable and great information on the internet for runners about what is causing their knee pain. 

They may go into great detail on different types of runners, orthotics, running techniques, stride length, cadence or gait and they might go into detail about conditions like patellofemoral pain, patellar tendinosis or  ITB syndrome and that is all fine…..

.. if you want lots of  information telling you about the problem you are suffering with.

But what I like to do at my clinic is  tell people the real reason why they are getting patellofemoral pain or runners knee in the first place, in a simple way that they can fully understand

Because you can try different interventions like changing runners (and I know runners who have 8 different types), go into real detail on chnaging your running technique or try putting kinesotape over it, but basically they are all addressing the symptom of the problem and not getting to the real cause behind it. 

It’s similar to taking painkillers and hoping that the problem will go away and fix itself.

Let’s get to the true cause

So instead of putting a plaster over a sprained finger and hoping it going to better, lets look at one of the most common reasons, that I see in the clinic, behind knee pain in runners. 

Simply put, the quadriceps muscles at the front of the knee are doing too much work.  

This is a very basic answer, but it is a big reason behind a lot of knee pain in runners. 

And why are the quads doing to much work?

It is an inefficient habit your body can develop where the quads are taking up the slack because other muscles, most commonly  the calf or hamstring, are not working efficiently and absorbing their share of the load, when your foot hits the floor.

Therefore, the quads have to work harder to compensate. 

Your quads run down the front of your leg and over your knee cap and into the bone at the front of your shin. 

If they are working excessively hard when running they can exert excessive pressure on your knee cap which can lead to issues like runners knee and ITB syndrome. 

Why this might be happening will be individual to the runner, their previous injuries and stressors that are placed on their body. 

They may have an old ankle issue from a sprain years ago which means they are not effective at dealing with the force that a 10k run brings upon that ankle, so other parts have to compensate. 

They may have had achilles issues in the past, a hamstring tear, a calf tear or a hip issue. 

O it may be a lack of flexibility in a joint. This will be individual to the person and can not be told until they are individually assessed. 

Fixing the real cause

Now don’t get me wrong, orthotics can and have helped people, along with tape and other interventions but more often than not, if the real cause behind the knee pain is not addresses, then that runner will continue to get problems.

It may not always be the knee. It might move to the hip or the hamstring. 

So while the solution does involve addressing the knee problem, if you ignore the reason behind the knee problem, your chances of a long-term successful outcome are less. 

In my clinic I try to spend 20 % of my time addressing the problem area and 80% addressing the reason behind it. 

And that I find, gives people the best long-term solutions where they can return to running consistently, without the problem constantly returning and flaring up.

If you have been struggling with an knee issue that is not going away and would like to get assessed, then call the clinic to see how I can help you.


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