That dull pain at the front of your knee is known as runner’s knee. You don’t need to be a runner to experience it. Runner’s knee is a broad term used to describe what doctors sometimes call patellofemoral pain syndrome. This guide will cover what causes runner’s knee and offer some tips for soothing it.
What causes runner’s knee?
Because runner’s knee is a broad term for a variety of knee problems, it isn’t necessarily caused by running. Here are some common causes of runner’s knee:
- Overuse. Running, bending your knees a lot, or any impact exercise that puts pressure on your knees can cause runner’s knee. This is usually because the tissue around your knees has become irritated and inflamed.
- Injury. A fall or a torn ligament or cartilage can easily cause knee pain. If the pain is sharp and you hear a popping noise in your knee, visit your doctor as these injuries sometimes require surgery.
- Malalignment. If your bones aren’t lined up correctly, your kneecap may be struggling to move smoothly in its groove.
- Feet problems. Problems with your feet can be a root cause of runner’s knee, such as flat feet or joint problems in your feet and ankles.
- Other medical conditions. There are many medical conditions that could be causing your knee pain, such as arthritis or chondromalacia patella (breaking down cartilage). These are often long-term conditions that cannot be reversed, but they can still be soothed if they are causing pain.
Tips for soothing runner’s knee
Whilst some of the above problems may require medical attention and could be lifelong issues, there are some simple steps you can take at home to soothe knee pain.
- Wrap it. Wrapping your knee in bandages or tape, such as using kt tape for knee swelling, helps give your knee extra support.
- Rest it. Resting your knee is one of the best ways to help it and speed up the healing process if it is injured or irritated.
- Ice it. An ice pack will soothe pain and swelling in your knee.
- Elevate it. When you lie down or sit down, try using a pillow to slightly elevate your knee.
- Take ibuprofen. Painkillers that reduce swelling are ideal for knee pain. Be sure to take painkillers as per the label unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
- Exercise it. Resting your knee is important, but some gentle knee exercises can help stretch it out and strengthen it. This post from Healthline has some gentle exercises for knee pain.
- Don’t rush back into exercise. Wait until your knee pain goes away, including when you walk, jog, or jump, you can bend and stretch your knee with ease, and your knee feels as strong as your other knee before you return to high-impact sports such as running.
Runner’s knee is a source of pain and frustration for many of us, especially when it stops us from exercising. These tips will help soothe your pain and speed up the healing process, but if you are experiencing regular knee pain, be sure to visit your doctor and get their advice.