Four Conditions That Cause Runner’s Knee

Woman bending and holding her knee

Runner’s knee is the name for pain in the knee usually located around the kneecap. Runner’s knee is not a condition itself, rather it is the name for a variety of conditions that commonly develop in runners.

Minor cases of runner’s knee pain can usually benefit from rest and icing at home. However, if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, you may need to visit a medical professional for treatment.

Conditions that cause runner’s knee

Several conditions can cause a runner’s knee that requires professional medical treatment. Four conditions that frequently cause runner’s knee include:

  1. Iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome — The IT band is a long strand of tissue that travels along the outside of your leg. It connects from the hip all the way down to the shinbone just below the knee.

    IT band syndrome can occur when overuse or strain causes irritation and inflammation in the IT band. This causes the band to rub against the knee, which can cause pain when trying to bend or straighten your knee.
  2. Patellar malalignment — Sometimes known as patellar tracking disorder, this condition is when the patella (your kneecap) dislodges itself from its appropriate position. When this happens, your knees can lock up or it may be difficult to bend your knee.

    Patellar malalignment may occur from an impact to the knee or from tendons around the kneecap loosening up from overuse.
  3. Weak or stiff muscles — The big muscles around your knee are what allow you to bend and straighten your knee. They also help hold the kneecap in place. When the muscles are weak, tight, or tired, support for the kneecap diminishes, which can cause pain and a limited range of motion.
  4. Foot conditions — Flat arches or overpronated arches can cause your knees to overcompensate for posture and gait. This can cause pain to develop in the knee more easily from activities like running or jumping.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for runner’s knee treatment

Whether you run or not, if you have pain at the front of your knee that limits its mobility, you may have runner’s knee. Our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute can diagnose the cause of your pain and administer effective treatment. Contact us today to learn more about the runner’s knee treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.