Why you’re getting knee pain after running and what to do about it level 2
Why do I get sore knees after running??
Why do you run? Because it feels good. Because it relieves stress. I get that, because running is also important to me. I’m a 32-time marathoner who knows how frustrating it is to be injured. It’s the reason I became a sports doctor. Ripping my anterior cruciate ligament playing football when I was in medical school was devastating, but it was the single most important event to influence my work. It’s what drives me to help my patients. Almost every day I treat runners with sore knees. Many are freaked out: can I still run? Will I have to switch to swimming? Thankfully, most knee problems won’t keep you off the road for long.
We have great strategies to diagnose and fix many common knee problems that affect runners. Here’s what you need to know about common knee issues that runners face.
Where does it hurt? Pain under your kneecap that feels worse after running and when you walk up or down stairs. This is the most common condition affecting runners of all ages but is most frequently seen in runners under 50.
What’s going on? When the patella (kneecap) moves out of alignment during running and doesn’t track properly in the trochlea, the ridge inside the upper leg bone, the femur. This causes the cartilage under the patella to become irritated, known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee.
How can I treat it?
You don’t need to stop running but reduce your mileage.
Strength train with activities that don’t aggravate your knee – the stronger the muscles above the patella, the better the knee will feel. Start with exercises like straight-leg raises until that doesn’t hurt, then squats, then eventually plyometric squats. It’s all about progression.
Consider arch supports (orthotics) and more supportive shoes. Foot mechanics, particularly pronation, play a role in runner’s knee.
Apply ice for 15 minutes twice per day to reduce symptoms.
Take an anti-inflammatory
Foam roll your quads – loser muscles mean less loading force on the patella.
If the pain continues, see a doctor to get a more definitive diagnosis.
- Strength train
- Foam roll daily
- Alter foot mechanics
- Shortening your stride can take pressure off your knees. Aim for 170-180 footstrikes per minute