WellSpan Home

Health Library

Runner’s Knee

What is runner's knee?

Runner's knee means that you have dull pain around the front of the knee (patella). This is where the knee connects with the lower end of the thighbone (femur).

What causes runner's knee?

Runner's knee may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running. Other causes may include:

  • A kneecap that is too high in the knee joint
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Poor foot support
  • Walking or running with the feet rolling in while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward
  • Excessive training or overuse
  • Injury

What are the symptoms of runner's knee?

These are the most common symptoms of runner's knee:

  • Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active. Or pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.
  • Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear when you bend and straighten your knee
  • Kneecap that is tender to the touch

The symptoms of runner's knee may look like other conditions and health problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is runner's knee diagnosed?

Your health care provider can diagnose runner's knee by looking at your health history and doing a physical exam.

How is runner’s knee treated?

Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and health history
  • How much pain you have
  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for runner's knee is to stop running until you can run again without pain. Other treatment may include:

  • Cold packs
  • Elevating the leg
  • Compression knee wrap
  • Medicines such as ibuprofen
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Arch support in shoes

Can runner’s knee be prevented?

Preventing runner’s knee includes not overstressing your knees. You can do this by:

  • Losing weight if needed
  • Stretching before running
  • Increasing your activities gradually
  • Wearing good running shoes
  • Running leaning forward with your knees bent

Key points about runner's knee

  • Runner's knee is dull pain around the front of the knee.
  • It may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running.
  • Symptoms include pain, and rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap.
  • Treatment includes not running until pain goes away. Also using cold packs, compression, and elevation may help. Medicine such as ibuprofen can lessen pain and reduce inflammation. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent runner’s knee. 

 

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
Runner’s Knee - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Last Review Date: 2014-01-25T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2016-07-28T00:00:00
Published Date: 2016-07-28T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2016 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×