Runner’s knee – symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

runners-kneeThe pain in the knee anterior compartment is located at the front of the knee, near a kneecap. Colloquially referred to as the “runner’s knee”, it is often a concern of those who do sport as a form of recreation, in particular running and jumping.

Main cause – excessive load

Pain grows worse when going up- and downstairs (particularly upstairs), doing deep knee bends, sitting and running for a long time. As a rule the cause of this sort of injury is excessive load, weakened muscles and lack of suitable muscle balance. In certain cases pain is a result of previous injuries. If the pain does not subside after you rest, it is necessary to visit an orthopedist for professional diagnosis.

Treatment – exercises are usually enough!

It sometimes happens that in order to examine the knee comprehensively, an orthopedist recommends diagnostic imaging, X-ray screening, ultrasound examination or MR. The treatment usually requires suitable strengthening exercises which must be supervised by a physiotherapist. During the first visit a physiotherapist identifies weak muscles which must be stretched and then an individual workout program is chosen. A patient is provided with a ready plan which he/she must follow.

Medicaments and arthroscopy


It is sometimes advisable to provide medicaments to the knee joint in order to foster the recovery. In rare cases, when a conservative treatment turns out to be ineffective, a surgical treatment is required. Then, a knee arthroscopy is performed – a little-invasive treatment during which all damage inside the knee is fixed.

Remember about muscles!

The main issue however is the approach to physical activities. If you are about to start doing sport, e.g. running, and you have not done anything for years, it is necessary that you visit a specialist and arrange a “return plan”. “First get strong, then get fit” – it is a crucial principle. This means that you should strengthen your muscles in the first place in order to make sport pleasurable and safe.

Anatomy, causes, symptoms and methods of treatment discussed by:
PhD Paweł Bąkowski, a Rehasport Clinic orthopedist