Runner’s knee is pain behind your kneecap (patella). Your kneecap fits into grooves in the end of your thighbone. With repeated bending and straightening of the knee, you can irritate the inside surface of your kneecap and cause pain.
Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse of the knee in activities such as running, walking, jumping, or bicycling.
You are more likely to have runner’s knee if you have wide hips, weak thigh muscles, or if you are knock-kneed. If your foot flattens too much when you walk or run, it can also irritate the inside of your kneecap.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:
While you recover, you will need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, swim instead of run.
You may need to wear a special strap or a knee brace that helps support and protect your knee while your knee heals. Special shoes or shoe inserts may also help.
Your healthcare provider may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help you heal. Runner’s knee often lasts a long time and can come back after symptoms were better for a while. Doing the right kind of exercises is very important to help your knee heal.
If rest, exercise, and self-care don’t relieve your symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest surgery to remove pieces of damaged tissue or to put the kneecap in the better position to prevent symptoms.
To help the swelling and pain:
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions, including doing exercises to help you recover. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Warm-up exercises and stretching before activities can help prevent injuries. You should also do exercises that strengthen your thigh muscles.
Follow the safety rules for your work or sport and use protective equipment, like wearing the right type of shoes for your activities.