Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee otherwise known as Cinema Goer’s knee or technically Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome is a common complaint affecting both men and women of all activity levels. The condition presents as pain around, under or behind the kneecap during normal everyday activities such as walking, running, climbing or descending stairs or even sitting.

There are many possible causes and contributing factors to the development and on-going nature of runner’s knee. 2 of the most common are:

– Excessive loading as well as rapid changes in activity levels

  • Doing “too much too soon” or being inconsistent with the amount of exercise and load you place through the knee can cause irritation of the structures around the knee leading to pain.

– Altered biomechanics can cause the kneecap to track to the outside of its groove on the thigh bone. Common contributing factors to this are:

  1. The pelvis dropping on the opposite side placing increased strain on the outer leg
  2. The hip can roll inwards under the kneecap, often due to weakness in the supportive hip muscles
  3. Weak thigh muscles don’t give the knee and kneecap enough support
  4. The foot can roll excessively, causing the shin the collapse inwards, affecting the alignment at the kneecap and knee joint

          PFPS        PFPS2

These factors can lead to poor biomechanics during everyday tasks such as descending stairs which, over time, can lead to pain:

What can be done to help?

Seeking early advice can be key to a timely recovery. Your therapist will be able to guide and assist you through the key components of management and recovery:

  • Activity modification to avoid continuing to irritate the structures around the kneecap
  • Appropriate exercises to build up the supportive muscles of the hip, thigh and lower leg
  • Stretches to address any tight muscles affecting your biomechanics
  • Assessing and correcting your technique during exercises and everyday tasks to ensure optimal alignment through the leg and knee
  • Mobilising and / or taping the kneecap for symptom relief
  • Advice on whether you may benefit from shoe orthotics if your foot rolls in
  • Gradual and controlled increase in your activity and exercise levels to help you achieve your goals

So whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to be able to enjoy a trip to the cinema pain-free, book in with one of our expert physiotherapists who’ll be happy to help  you on your way!


Andrew Leggett


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