Why do I have knee pain when I am running?

Why do I have knee pain when running?

Knee pain when running is a very common complaint; whether it is pain in the front, sides or back of your knee. Here at our physio clinic in Leeds, we see a lot of runners at all stages, from couch – to  – 5k to serious marathon runners, and know how debilitating pain in your knees can be to your running. We cannot stress how important it is to get assessed early rather than letting your pain linger on. Your knee pain may only happen while you are running, may come on after your run, or even the day after. It may even be so painful, to the point of stopping you from running altogether. Here we have put together a list of all the areas we look at when we assess the factors that may be contributing to your knee pain:

  1. INEFFICIENT BIOMECHANICS – your running style may be putting strain on certain parts of your knees. We know that posture and strength in your running style can lead to pain at times. Being strong and efficient in your running muscles and also improving your running technique can make significant improvements possible to help get you out of pain.  
  2. OVER PRONATION – ok, so there is some debate about the fact that overpronation may not actually exist, but, we know that when when there is weakness in the muscles controlling your leg, often the foot collapses inwards when its loaded during the run and the problem may be how the foot and lower leg react to this that leads to the ankle rolling inwards when you are running. This can alter the forces going through your knees whilst you are running and lead to strain on the inside of your knees
  3. UNDERACTIVE HIP MUSCLES- if the stabilising muscles at the side of your hips are weak (they often lack endurance as you build miles) or underactive this can cause your knees to collapse inwards which can put your ITB at the outside of your knee at a stretch and also put strain on the inside of your knee.
  4. TIGHT QUADS AND HIPS- if the muscles at the front of your thighs and hips are tight they can pull on your knee caps whilst you are running, causing pain over time. A problem like this will develop gradually. Having a regular mobility and maintenance programme to help with your running is essential self help. If you don’t know how to do this. We can help – reach out and we will be more than happy to design this to suit your needs.
  5. HAMSTRING WEAKNESS- In some people, especially people who hyper extend their knees weak hamstrings can lead to lack of control in the knee joint. We often get people come in complaining of pain at the front of their knee (also known as the fat pad, which sits under your knee cap)that can become quite irritable once it has been aggravated. Building your hamstring strength and control is essential for rehabilitating your knee from this condition.
  6. INADEQUATE FOOTWEAR- Foot wear is sometimes a confusing topic for runners there is so many products on the market, it is hard to choose which is right for you. In some cases if your feet are not supported well enough during your run, this can alter the direction of forces going through your legs, resulting in knee pain over time. Different shoes work for different people. It is important to find there right shoe that is both comfortable as well as supportive for your body and running style. 
  7. RAPID INCREASE IN MILAGE OR TRAINING INTENSITY- if you increase how far you are running or introduce faster running before your body has time to adjust to the new demands this can put excess strain on your knees. It is really important to have a gradual approach to your increasing both the intensity and duration of your training sessions. 
  8. ITB TIGHTNESS- your iliotibial band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the side of your hip to the side of your knee. If this is tight it can pull on your knee and cause pain. One of the most common causes of knee pain in runners, often caused by weakness in some of the muscles around the hip but also in the feet. The tightness in the ITB causes irritation as it compresses against the bone on the outside of the knee. Once identified this can be rectified by the correct rehabilitation program. 

If you are worried about knee pain when running then consult one of our expert sports  physiotherapists who will thoroughly assess you, to find the cause of your pain and put together a plan for you to return pain free and stronger than before to running. 

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