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What is that ache in your knee?

Do you have pain when you bend your knee, walk down stairs or sit for long periods. Maybe you have swelling in your knee or hear a popping and grinding sound when you move it? If so, you could be suffering from Runners Knee. We previously talked about Runner's Knee in our previous posts from 2021, but it's one of the most common injuries that our clients deal with and it

’s actually quite hard to get rid of. In this post we will outline the evolutionary aspects of running, discuss what Runner's Knee is, and how to treat it. Great.....history and biology in one post. Don't worry, we promise this will be exciting.

Early Humans

Our ancestors did not possess the strength or speed of other predators, but they developed a remarkable endurance running capability. Persistence hunting, a hunting technique employed by early humans, relied on endurance running to chase animals over long distances until their prey collapsed from exhaustion. Our ancestors would track and pursue animals, utilizing their ability to sweat and cool their bodies, as well as their upright posture and efficient breathing.

The major advantage we have is bipedalism. A crucial ability to walk and run on two legs provided an energy-efficient means of locomotion, as it allowed our ancestors to cover long distances while conserving energy. The evolution of an upright posture, with a curved spine and aligned center of gravity, created a stable base for efficient running. Perhaps if our ancestors knew of Runner's Knee they might have stayed in the trees.

But what is Runner’s Knee?

Also known as Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome (PFSS), which is not necessarily caused by running.

It’s usually caused by a direct impact on the knee, a problem with the feet, weak or unbalanced thigh muscles, incorrect position of any bones from the hips to the ankles, or even Chondromalacia patella.

The main symptom of Runner’s knee is pain and is mostly aggravated by the following conditions:

  • Bending the knee to walk, squat, kneel, run, or when getting up from a chair

  • Discomfort when walking on uneven surfaces

  • Walking downstairs or on hills

  • Irritation felt after sitting for a long time with the knees bent

  • For some, it may include swelling of the knee area, with popping sounds or grinding in the knee

Just tell me how to fix it

The best treatment for Runner’s knee is Physical Therapy since the pain you’re experiencing shouldn’t be ignored. Treating your Runner’s knee at home has limitations, and besides, your Therapists will be assessing your physical conditions more in-depth to address the problem correctly and safely.

Most of the time, your therapists will give you this advice:

  • Continue Physical Therapy for strengthening exercises

  • Take your pain relievers as prescribed by your physician

  • Put an ice pack on the knee for at least 20 minutes every 4 hours

  • Rest and avoid putting weight on the affected knee

  • Put a pillow under your knee while you rest

Here are some PT exercises that you will most probably encounter during your session:

Straight Leg Raises

With this exercise, make sure that your knee joint is locked to decrease stress and strain around the kneecap.

  • Lie on your back with one knee straight and one knee bent

  • Tighten your muscle on top of your thigh (for the straight leg)

  • Lift your leg about 15 inches off the ground and hold the straight leg up for a few seconds

  • Slowly lower it down and repeat the raise 10 to 15 times.


This is a good exercise to improve the strength of your hip muscles.

  • Lie on your right side with your knees bent on top of each other and your right arm under your head to support it.

  • Keeping your feet together, open the clamshell by lifting your top knee up.

  • While your hips will rotate during this exercise, your pelvis and core should remain stable.

  • Close the clamshell, repeat 15 times, and switch sides.

What do I do now?

You'll need to see a physical therapist. At Arise Physical Therapy, we see many people with knee pain, runner's knee and tendinitis. Don't let knee pain limit your potential and dictate your life any longer. You owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities of pain-free movement. Your journey to a pain-free life starts now. So book an appointment with us by clicking HERE and find a future filled with renewed vitality.

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