Pain in your knees after or during a run is a problem for many of us, and can suggest a problem with technique, stretching or footwear. These simple exercises should help.

Why do runners get knee pain?

Knee pain in runners is quite common due to the amount of pounding the pavement they can do over a number of years – in fact it’s often known as ‘runner’s knee’. This is another name for patellofemoral pain syndrome – basically pain in the kneecap.

According to a study from Boston University School of Medicine, knee pain has become significantly more common over the past 20 years, leading to high numbers of replacements, so it’s extra important you know how to protect yours.

What should I do if I feel a twinge in my knee?

Firstly, see a rehabilitation specialist such as an osteopath or physiotherapist to ensure it’s not something serious. Then, book a session with a movement specialist to help you with any misalignment issues and to correct your running technique.

What is ‘runner’s knee’?

The term ‘runner’s knee’ can be used to describe several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. It can include anterior knee pain syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment and more.

Why does my knee hurt after running?

A common reason for runner’s knee is weakness in your quadriceps – try some strength training using weights, and make sure to stretch your quads well after exercise. You could also consider using a foam roller.

Another factor could be gaining weight, as being overweight or obese puts a lot of pressure on your knee joints, particularly when you walk up the stairs.

Those who over-do their running mileage can also expect pain, as you will start to wear away your cartilage. This is often a particular problem for new runners, who build up too quickly with their new-found enthusiasm for the sport, A study from the University of Kentucky found that in the USA, up to 70% of new runners develop some form of overuse injury within a one-year period. So if you’re new to running, consider the tortoise and the hare, and take your progress slow and steady!

Simple exercises for knee pain in runners

  1. Always warm up thoroughly through extended ranges of movement before going for your run.
  2. Try swinging your leg backwards and forwards or doing short-range lunges.
  3. Doing fewer miles on concrete and switching to grass would also help, as would changing one of your runs each week to a cross-training session such as swimming or cycle, to lessen the amount of impact your knees are taking.