Thrive Physio

Runner's Knee


What is runner's knee? 

Runner’s knee also known as the patellofemoral syndrome is a dull ache in the front of the knee around the knee cap (patella). Runner’s knee is predominant in women and it can occur in anyone at any age. You do not need to be a runner to have runner’s knee. It is predominantly caused by a biomechanical mal-alignment of the knee which causes clicking and grinding of the knee.


 The following factors cause/lead to runner’s knee:

  • A knee cap that sits high then it should at the level of the joint

  • Hyper-extensive knees

  • Weak thigh muscles

  • Poor foot support- dropped or raised arches

  • Poor glute strength

  • Tight hamstrings and Achilles tendon

  •  Injury

  • Excessive use for example marathon running




The most common symptoms of the runner’s knee is pain in and around the kneecap which is hard to localize. It occurs especially when you are running and sitting with your knees bent for a long time. You also experience feels of grinding or rubbing or hear a clicking sound of the kneecap. Sometimes the knee is tender to touch.


However, these symptoms can also occur with other types of knee injuries as well so it is always best to consult your physiotherapist after an injury for a proper diagnosis.




Initial management of acute phase of the injury:


  1. RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for about 20 minutes daily especially after a long run

  2. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter or prescribed by your general practitioner.

  3. Focus on flexibility: stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, calves, and glute muscles daily.

  4. Minimize any aggravating activities.

  5. Seek help from your physical therapist in order to develop a plan to minimize pain and return to full function. 


Seeing a physical therapist in the early acute phase is beneficial as they can provide manual therapy techniques that can help with the process. An ongoing rehabilitation plan is all vital for improvement in symptoms   



Like any injury, the patellofemoral syndrome can get better within a 6 week period with an extensive and detailed rehabilitation program. Some people experience pain throughout the recovery period, however, this usually diminishes during this period.

Do not assume the worst.
This information is here for your knowledge. 

Book in with one of our team members for a proper assessment.

We will help you with your journey to recovery.