If you experience troubling knee pain during or after running, there are several things you can do to help solve this problem.

“Knee pain after running can be caused by a multitude of factors,” says Joseph Ciccone, DPT, CSCS, a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning coach with ColumbiaDoctors in New York, NY.

“The knee is the middle ground between the foot and hip,” says Ciccone. “Therefore, issues at the knee can be caused by the hip and foot as well as from structures surrounding the knee.”

The runner needs to figure out just where the knee pain is coming from.

Ciccone says, “Typically you see anterior/medial patella knee pain in runners and also you can get pain over the lateral aspect of knee joint.” Anterior refers to the front; medial refers to the inner side; lateral refers to the outer side. The patella is the kneecap.

“One of the causes with anterior/medial patella pain is patellofemoral syndrome,” says Ciccone.

“This is when the patella is not gliding it its groove appropriately.  In many cases the patella has a relative lateral tilt, which can create ‘hot spots’ in and around this joint. With lateral pain you can see issues with the iliotibial band snapping over the lateral femoral condyle.”

Knee Injury Treatment

Ciccone says to get an in-depth evaluation of your foot, hip and pelvis along with, of course, your knee.

The following components should be addressed:

“Strength deficits (commonly all three gluteal muscles and quadriceps); decreased tissue extensibility (gastrocnemius/soleus, ITB, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lateral retinaculum); biomechanical causes (correcting pes cavus, pes planus feet).”

Pes cavus and pes planus refer to high arches and flat feet, respectively.

Ciccone adds that the above are main causes of knee pain from running, but other causes can be responsible such as soft tissue shortening.

Do not keep putting off having a physician examine your knee. If you’ve been able to run on it all along, and it hurts only when you run, you should not fear that the doctor is going to tell you that you need a joint replacement.

Joseph Ciccone’s practice focuses on numerous musculoskeletal conditions, including management of chronic and acute injuries, and surgical rehabilitation. He has a strong interest in adolescents, weekend warriors and professional athletes.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.