Runner’s Knee: It Really Does Affect Runners

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

My friend Sandy has always been an athlete. She played high school basketball and she is also the quarterback on my flag football team and in the same recreational basketball league as me. Sandy has been relatively injury-free… maybe a couple minor ankle sprains or shoulder tendonitis over the years, until recently. The activity that has really started taking a toll on her body is running.

Sandy recently started getting in to marathons and regularly scheduled jogs around the neighborhood. She started feeling pain in her left knee. It got bad enough that she decided to see her doctor, who diagnosed it as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), also known as Runner’s Knee.

Luckily, there are knee braces for runner’s knee which may help reduce the symptoms. PFPS knee braces help by applying pressure to the knee and also by “lifting” the kneecap in to proper position during athletic activities, such as running.

Sandy’s still resting and healing, but when she starts activity again she’ll be wearing a knee brace for runner’s knee to help alleviate her patellofemoral pain.

What is Runner’s Knee?

The term “runner’s knee”, also known as chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is not really a disease on its own. It is a loose term used to describe pain around the inside of the knee, usually caused by irritation to the cartilage under the kneecap. As its name suggests, runner’s knee is a common ailment among runners. However, it can also affect anyone that participates in activities or sports that involve consistent bending of the knee.

Visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis if you suspect you have runner’s knee. Some common symptoms of runner’s knee are:

  • Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.
  • Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting.
  • Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill.
  • Swelling.
  • Popping or grinding sensations in the knee.

* Source: WebMD Runner’s Knee Symptoms

Wearing a runner’s knee brace can help prevent patellofemoral pain. The brace helps hold the knee in alignment and may help prevent wear and tear on your knee cartilage. Running on softer surfaces and strengthening the thigh muscles can also help you avoid runner’s knee.