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What we’ll cover
  1. What is runner’s knee?
  2. Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
  3. Patella femoral pain syndrome
  4. What causes runner’s knee?
  5. What can I do for runner’s knee?
  6. Exercises for runner’s knee?

Knee pain with running

With many of us using running as a form of exercise throughout these restrictions, knee pain is commonly associated with running or cycling. Whether you are just starting out or training for a marathon, knee pain can be incredibly frustrating. Importantly, knee pain associated with running does not necessarily mean stopping or finding alternative exercises. Our physiotherapist Jason Lee identifies common causes of knee pain which may affect your running.

What is runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee is a very common term which covers a broad spectrum of conditions that commonly affects the patella (knee cap). Symptoms commonly include pain around the front of the knee which may become exacerbated with increases in loading such as running, jumping or stairs. In the early stages, pain may appear to warm up and disappear but progressively may worsen over time.

Whilst it is commonly referred to as runner’s knee, these symptoms are not only associated with running. The two main conditions that are associated with runner’s knee including knee cap maltracking (patella femoral pain syndrome) and iliotibial band syndrome.

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome commonly causes pain on the outside/lateral aspect of the knee. The ITB is a thick fibrous band that runs from the outside of the hip, down the side of the thigh and below the knee. With repetitive overload, the ITB can begin to rub and irritate structures around the outside of the knee. This can result in knee pain that appears whilst running but may subside during the run. ITB syndrome does not usually cause pain when not running.

Patella femoral pain syndrome

Patella femoral pain syndrome is commonly caused by a muscle strength imbalances or tight structures around the knee and thigh. This results in reduced alignment of the knee cap as it moves with bending or straightening. This commonly causes pain when loading is increased through through the lower limb. In more severe cases, symptoms and pain can also occur with sustained postures either when the knee is bent past 90 degrees or totally straight.

What causes runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee is commonly caused by overuse and overloading structures around the knee. This can be caused by poor training habits such as increasing speed or distance too quickly or rapidly.

Another common cause of runner’s knee is poor biomechanics. This can include weakness around the gluteal muscles and quadriceps. Other biomechanical factors can be reduced flexibility through the muscles including the hamstrings or hips. Foot posture such as pronation (flat feet) or supination (high arches) can also contribute to cause runner’s knee.

What can I do for runner’s knee?

Importantly, runner’s knee isn’t a structural issue. As a result, improving strength and flexibility is the best way to treat runner’s knee. Your physiotherapist is well placed to perform a thorough assessment to identify what factors may be primarily causing your sign and symptoms. Physiotherapy for runner’s knee involves assessing your strength and flexibility. Our team at Malvern East Physiotherapy will also perform a thorough running assessment utilising video analysis.

If you are experiencing runner’s knee, it is important to ice the knee after running or exercise. Continuing to run but adjusting the distance or type of running that you are doing to maintain load whilst not exacerbating symptoms is also crucial. Your physiotherapist is well placed to modify your running load and recommend the appropriate distances and speed based on your previous training. Modifying exercise to incorporate cross training such as cycling or swimming can be beneficial to maintain cardiovascular fitness without exacerbating symptoms.

Exercises for runner’s knee?

Exercises that focus on improving gluteal and hip strength are very important as part of preventing runner’s knee. These exercises can use your body weight and if required, resistance bands. Great exercises include bridges, clam shells, squats and lunges.

Should you be experiencing runner’s knee, contact our team or book online today.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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