Runner's knee means that you have dull pain around the front of the knee (patella). This is where the knee connects with the lower end of the thighbone (femur).
Our Sports Medicine specialists provide treatment and rehabilitation for sports-related injuries from recreational, amateur and professional sports. Our faculty specialize in sports injuries in athletes and non-athletes.
What is runner's knee?
Runner's knee, also known as patellofemoral pain (PFP), means that you have pain in front of the knee or around the kneecap (patella). This is where the knee connects with the lower end of the thighbone (femur).
What causes runner's knee?
Runner's knee may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running. Other causes may include:
Malalignment of the kneecap
Excessive training or overuse
Injury or trauma
Weak thigh muscles
Tight Achilles tendons
Poor foot support
Walking or running with the feet rolling in while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward
What are the symptoms of runner's knee?
These are the most common symptoms of runner's knee:
Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active.
Pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.
Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear or feel when you bend and straighten your knee
Kneecap that is tender to the touch
The symptoms of runner's knee may look like other conditions and health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is runner's knee diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider can diagnose runner's knee by looking at your health history and doing a physical exam. X-rays may be needed for evaluation of the knee.
How is runner’s knee treated?
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The best course of treatment for runner's knee is to stop running until you can run again without pain. Treatment is aimed at alleviating pain and increasing strength range of motion. Treatments may include:
Elevating the leg
Compression knee wrap
Medicines such as ibuprofen
Shoe inserts (orthotics)
What can I do to prevent runner’s knee?
Preventing runner’s knee includes not overstressing your knees. You can do this by:
Maintaining a healthy body weight
Warming up before physical activity
Stretching before and after physical activity
Increasing your activities gradually
Wearing shoes appropriate for your physical activities
Running leaning forward with your knees bent
Key points about runner's knee
Runner's knee is pain in front of the knee or around the kneecap
It may be caused by overuse, a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running.
Symptoms include pain, and rubbing, grinding, or clicking of the kneecap.
Treatment includes not running until the pain goes away, and strengthening and stretching exercises. Also cold packs, compression, and elevation may help. Medicine such as ibuprofen can lessen pain and reduce inflammation.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
News & Publications
The purpose of this study was to quantify and describe the amount of waste generated by an Emergency Department, identify deviations from waste policy and explore areas for waste reduction.
Our publication keeps health care professionals up to date on the latest research and clinical advances from Mass General.
News and notes from the largest hospital-based research program in the United States
The Patient Gateway provides secure online access to your health information whenever you need it. Check upcoming appointments, communicate with your doctor’s office, review medications and pay medical bills—all seamlessly online 24/7.