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Knee Bone or Joint Injury

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runners Knee) Advice

Minute Read


Posted 1 year ago


Last updated: 29/11/2022


by James McCormack

How Do I Know if I Have Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee has common symptoms that are likely to be felt by most people with this injury. It is more frequent for symptoms to be felt during activity and continuing after, than to only be felt with delayed onset, although this can happen. The most common symptoms are:

  • pain behind or around the knee cap
  • pain contracting the quadriceps
  • pain with squatting
  • pain descending stairs
  • pain kneeling

Does Runners Knee Get Worse at Night?

It is a common complaint that runner’s knee pain gets worse at night. There are two main factors why this might happen:

Posture – pressure under the knee cap can be more if the knee is bent between 60-90º, or if there is a slight twist which you might get by lying on your side, or direct compression by lying on your front.

Hormones – certain chemicals are secreted by the body, naturally when there is injured tissue to help with healing. Some of these chemicals are at higher levels overnight which can make symptoms more significant.

Can Runner's Knee Cause Permanent Damage?

Irritation to the patellofemoral joint is a spectrum. On the lower end, it can be painful with no damage to the tissues. On the extreme end, it can be wearing of the cartilage of the femoral condyle and the retropatella surface, which is osteoarthritis of the patellofemoral joint. This is irreparable damage, but symptoms can be managed with exercise and physical therapy.

How Long to Rest Runners Knee?

Each case is individual, and the type of rest and duration will depend on the person and the severity and duration of the injury. For some rest might be a reduction of their running volume, frequency or intensity, and others it may need to be a complete break from running and limiting their walking step count. A good rule to follow is that if you can’t walk pain-free, you shouldn’t be running. And if you have had a break from running you should have a minimum of a week of pain-free walking before trying a short walk run.

How Long Does it Take Runners Knee to Heal?

In most cases, if accurately diagnosed and managed appropriately runner’s knee can heal in 4-6weeks. However, there can often be a delay in diagnosis as symptoms can start mildly and many people will initially try to manage symptoms while continuing with training and running. This can delay the start of the required rest and rehabilitation.

How to Tape Runners Knee

Elasticated Kinesio tape won’t make any significant difference to healing time. but can be helpful for pain relief as it can increase proprioception and subtly alter muscle activation and timing.

Does Losing Weight Help Runners Knee?

Runner’s knee is a condition of irritation which is caused by bending and straightening the knee under load. The great the weight on the knee joint the more compression and force will be applied to the patellofemoral joint. Loosing weight in a gradual and healthy way can be very helpful for reducing patellofemoral pain.

Does Heat Help Runner's Knee?

Heat is effective at increasing blood supply and relaxing muscles. In some cases applying heat to the surrounding muscles, such as the quadriceps can help to make pain feel less significant. On the other hand, applying ice over the knee cap can be very good for temporary pain relief.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

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