Runner’s knee is a general term that describes several conditions that affect the knee joint. The primary structure affected by this condition is the kneecap (i.e., patella). This is what it’s important to do exercises for runner’s knee.
The diseases that trigger runner’s knee include:
- Anterior knee pain syndrome
- Patellofemoral malalignment
- Chondromalacia patella
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Besides runners, this condition could affect people whose joints are repeatedly under stress. For instance, activities such as walking, jumping, cycling, skiing, and biking could all lead to runner’s knee. These are some of the causes of runners knee and we have provided exercises for runner’s knee.
According to reports released by the Harvard Medical School, this condition is more prevalent in women relative to men. Moreover, overweight individuals are particularly susceptible to developing runner’s knee. Runners knee exercises are important for this reason.
In this article, we will briefly cover the causes and symptoms of runner’s knee, then switch gears to discuss the most effective exercises that improve the symptoms of this condition.
The causes of runner’s knee
The causes of runner’s knee are multifactorial. However, the irritation of the soft tissues, cartilage, and tendons are generally the primary trigger of pain.
The following situations increase the risk of runner’s knee:
- Overuse (e.g., running, biking)
- Trauma to the patella
- Misalignment of the patella
- Weak thigh muscles
- Flat feet
- Inadequate stretching or warmup
- Complete or partial dislocation of the patella
- A fractured kneecap
The signs and symptoms of runner’s knee
The most notable symptom of runner’s knee is dull, achy pain around the patella located at the lower portion of the joint.
Generally speaking, patients report pain in the following situations:
- Climbing the stairs
- Sitting down for a long time (knee bent)
- Standing up
In addition to pain, you may experience swelling, grinding, and popping in the knee. As a result, your range of motion significantly drops, which makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
The best exercises for runner’s knee
Standing quad stretch
- Start in a standing position.
- Reach behind your body to hold your right foot using your right hand.
- Bring your right heel up to your glutes (if you can’t, reach as far as you can without feeling pain).
- For balance, you can use the wall.
- Maintain your right knee in close as your stretch.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
- Switch to the left leg.
- Repeat the stretch for the opposite side.
- You should do this exercise for a total of 2-3 sets.
Standing hip flexor stretch
- Begin in a split stance.
- Place the right foot forward and the left leg back.
- Drop your knee and tailbone until they are one inch closer to the floor.
- Tuck your pelvis forward.
- Make sure that your spine is in a neutral position (avoid arching your back).
- Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat the exercise.
Straight leg lift
- Lie down on your back and bend one knee (90-degree angle).
- Extend the other leg straight out on the floor.
- Tighten up your thigh muscles with the help of the extended leg.
- Raise the leg until it reaches a 45-degree angle.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds, then slowly lower your leg to the ground.
- Repeat this exercise 20 times.
Standing calf stretch
- Begin in a standing position as you face a wall.
- Put out your arms onto the wall and press gently.
- Your hands should be at eye-level.
- Maintain contact between the heel of the affected leg and the ground.
- Move the intact leg forward while your knee is slightly bent.
- Turn the affected leg inward and slowly lean into the wall.
- Hold the position for 20–30 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise for 3 sets.
For this exercise, you will need a box step or a flight of stairs.
Here is how to do this exercise:
- Place your right foot on the step.
- Lift the left leg in the air while your right leg straightens.
- Lower the left leg back.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times.
In some cases, the steps can trigger pain, especially if you underwent an injury. If you feel discomfort in your knee while performing this exercise, you can skip it.
In other words, step up is more suited for people who partially recovered and want to strengthen the muscles of their legs and glutes.
- Lie on your side and bend your hips/knees.
- Stack one foot on top of the other.
- Raise the top leg to the ceiling, but maintain contact between your heels (forming a clam shape).
- Hold this position for 2 seconds, then slowly lower the top leg.
- Do 15 repetitions.
If you do not experience pain during this exercise, you may want to switch sides and do another set.
- Start in a standing position with your back against a wall.
- Extend your arms down and put the palm of your hands on the wall.
- Place your heels 6 inches in front of your hips, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Gradually slide your back and hips down the wall until your knees form a 45-degree angle.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise 15 times.
Before attempting any of these exercises, you may want to speak with your primary care physician or orthopedic surgeon to discuss the safety of the stretches and their potential impact on your condition.
Additionally, make sure to warm up before performing any of these exercises, as it’s crucial to prevent the exacerbation of your injury or triggering new ones.
Runner’s knee is an incredibly common condition that is often challenging to manage by doctors. Due to the complexity of the knee joint and the variety of conditions that could alter its function, runner’s knee is often described as a chronic condition that does not heal.
We hope that this article introduced some of the exercises for runners knee.
If you have any questions, concerns, or additional exercises that you want to share with us, please don’t hesitate to do so in the comment section below or reach out to us by clicking on this link (insert the link of contact us page).
Check out our blog on leg workouts from home