Runner’s knee cause, symptoms, and treatment with 3 exercises 

A runner’s knee is a common and specific lateral knee pain problem among runners. It’s also known as iliotibial band syndrome.

but it’s not the only form of knee pain among runners.

In this post, I’ll show you the cause, symptoms, and treatment of a runner’s knee with 3 exercises.

And if this is not your knee pain type, I’ll guide you towards the correct information for you.

Today you will learn:

  1. Runner’s knee cause
  2. Runner’s knee symptoms
  3. Runner’s knee treatment with three exercises
Runner's knee cause, symptoms, and treatment with 3 exercises

Runner’s knee cause

Irritation of the iliotibial band causes your runner’s knee.

Therefore the official name of this injury is the iliotibial band friction syndrome.

MedicineNet explains it perfectly:

“The iliotibial band runs along the lateral or outside aspect of the thigh and is an important structure that stabilizes the outside of the knee as it flexes and extends.

Inflammation of the iliotibial band can occur as it crosses back and forth across the bony prominence of the femoral epicondyle as the knee flexes and extends.”

Your iliotibial band starts at the outer side of your hip and ends on the outer side of your lower leg.

Your thigh bone bulges on the lateral side right above your knee.

When you bend and extend your knee, your iliotibial band has to cross this bulge, just like a speed bump. But when your hip muscles or leg muscles are too weak, your hip hinges, increasing the tension on your iliotibial band. It causes irritation and inflammation of the iliotibial band.

That is what we call a runner’s knee and causes pain.

Runner's knee cause, symptoms, and treatment with 3 exercises

Runner’s knee symptoms

The main symptom of a runner’s knee is pain on the lateral or outer side of your knee. You can also feel pain in different parts of the iliotibial band somewhere between your hip and your knee.

You can usually feel swelling on the outer side of your knee, and it hurts when you put pressure on this spot.

That is the tendon of your iliotibial band.

The pain can occur during running, walking, or climbing stairs. Symptoms may vary according to the severity of your condition. It can be a dull, stabbing, or sharp pain.

Usually, at rest, you don’t feel pain at all but when you start moving your knee it may feel stiff and tight. You may be able to walk it off sometimes partly.

As you can see, pain around your kneecap is not a runner’s knee symptom. We call this patellofemoral pain syndrome. Read all about its symptoms and treatment here.

Runner's knee cause, symptoms, and treatment with 3 exercises

Runner’s knee treatment with three exercises

To treat your runner’s knee correctly, we have to solve the possible causes.

It means that we will train the hip muscles and leg muscles to reduce the tension and forces on your iliotibial band.

Furthermore, we’ll stretch your iliotibial band to reduce the friction in your knee.

Together, these 3 exercises will make sure that your runner’s knee disappears within a few weeks, without ever coming back in the future.

So let’s get started.

Runner's knee cause, symptoms, and treatment with 3 exercises

Runner’s knee exercise 1: Stretching your iliotibial band

The first thing we’re going to do is stretch your iliotibial band. When you do this, you will reduce the friction.

When the friction is gone, you’ve solved the cause of the irritation. This way, it will heal, and the pain will disappear.

Perform the exercise like this:

  • Cross your injured leg behind your healthy leg and with your feet against each other
  • Keep your injured knee extended
  • Bend your body sideways towards your healthy leg
  • Hold this for 20 seconds
  • Repeat this 3 times

You can also try to massage your iliotibial band using deep tissue massage or trigger point massage. I would recommend using this massage oil.

Another option is to use a foam roller to reduce the tension of your iliotibial band.

runner's knee exercise 1 stretching your iliotibial band

Runner’s knee exercise 2: Increase the strength of your hip muscles

The second exercise is designed to increase the power of your hip muscles.

When your hip muscles become stronger, they will hold your upper leg in a straighter position. It reduces the tension and friction on your iliotibial band.

Perform the exercise like this:

  • Lay down on your healthy side
  • Extend your leg and pull your toes towards you
  • Lift your leg with your knee extended
  • Make sure you keep it in line with the rest of your body

You can also see how to perform the exercise on this video.

Perform this exercise twice a day every day. Start with three sets of 10 repetitions and slowly increase it to 3 sets of 20 repetitions. With this exercise, you can train your hip muscles without overusing your knee.

runner's knee exercise 2 increase the strength of your hip muscles

Runners knee exercise 3: Increasing the strength of your quadriceps muscles

The purpose of this last exercise is to increase the power of your quadriceps. Weak quadriceps muscles increase the load on your knee and improve the internal rotation of your lower leg.

As we mentioned before, the iliotibial band is essential in stabilizing your knee. More load asks for more stability, causing your iliotibial band to overload.

With the following exercise, you can train your quadriceps muscles without overloading your knee even more.

Perform the exercise like this:

  • Lay down on your back with your legs completely stretched
  • Pull your toes towards you
  • Now lift your leg straight up and let it come down again
  • Repeat this ten times
  • If this is to easy you can do it 15 or even 20 times
  • Repeat this three times

You can see how to perform the exercise here in this video.

Try to perform this exercise twice a day every day.

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runner's knee exercise 3 increaes the strength of your quadriceps muscles

Conclusion

As you can see, you can treat your runner’s knee all by yourself with our five exercises. You have to know what to do.

If you have any questions left, feel free to e-mail me.

Feel free to share this article with all your friends who also suffer from a runners knee.