by Dr. Halland Chen, MD

Knee pain from running isn’t unusual. However, athletes who have constant knee pain after running may have a serious injury requiring medical attention. Three injuries which commonly plague people with knee pain after running are Baker’s Cyst, Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Runner’s Knee. The conditions are characterized by pain in, around or behind the knee. These ailments are painful but can usually be taken care of with a little TLC and a visit to a doctor.

Baker’s Cyst’s primary symptom is pain and swelling behind the knee where the bones of the upper and lower legs meet. The area is usually saw to the touch and feels like gelatin when pressure is applied to it. Fortunately the growth isn’t malignant. However suffers have to visit an orthopedist to have it removed. Most patients can quickly return to their regular exercise regimen after the cyst is removed.

Another of those ailments that causes knee pain from running is Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The most common symptom of this ailment is pain that hits suddenly, goes away when you stop, but can reoccur just as suddenly. It can happen at the beginning, middle or near the end of your run. The Iliotibial Band is tissue running from the outer part of the pelvis to the knee. Running too much puts strain on this ‘band’ and causes excruciating pain. The cure for this ailment is rest, massage and a drastic reduction in running.

By far the most common cause of running knee pain is an ailment called Runner’s Knee. When struck by this type of knee pain running becomes nearly impossible. Runner’s Knee is characterized by knee pain running around and often behind the kneecap. It’s an injury which is often strikes when athletes begin to run 40 to 50 miles a week for the first time. It leads to stiffness, soreness, pain and even clicking noises in the knee. The running knee pain seems to get worse when the runner climbs stairs or runs down hill.

The ailment is caused by weak quadriceps and poor foot positioning while running. This causes the kneecap to get off track and grind against the nearby cartilage. When the cartilage which normally cushions the knee becomes worn the area becomes painful. Running too much or training on banked or angled surfaces also contributes. To treat Runner’s Knee apply ice as soon as the run is over. Take an aspirin to help reduce swelling. Wrap the knee with warm towels or heating pads for 30 minutes at bedtime.

Learn more about Knee Pain