If you experience knee pain when running, you’re not alone. More than 80% of runners’ injuries occur at or near the knee.

Isolating the location of the pain is only the first step in your journey to recovery. Once you’ve identified knee pain, you then need to figure out the cause.

This is where we step in. We’ve put together a list of the most common causes of knee pain to help you identify, and treat, the source of your discomfort. Read on to discover which of these conditions best suits your symptoms.

Runner’s Knee

Types of Knee Braces

Runner’s knee is one of the most common knee injuries experienced by athletes. It is identified by pain under your kneecap that feels worse after you’ve been running.

Runner’s knee is usually caused by tight muscles, poor running form, or structural issues like joint misalignment. These problems place increased pressure on the kneecap, causing the surrounding cartilage to become inflamed.

Treat runner’s knee by applying ice to the affected area, taking anti-inflammatory medication, or by foam rolling your tight muscles. Try out these runner’s knee exercises to strengthen your knees, hips, and quads.

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar Tendinitis causes pain below your knee, where your shin connects to your kneecap. This is often caused by tight hamstrings or quad muscles, overuse, or a sudden increase in exercise.

Increased usage and tight muscles place excess force on the patellar tendon. This repeated stress weakens the tendon and, if left untreated, can lead to inflammation and even tears in your tendon.

The best treatment for patellar tendinitis is to take a break from running. This will allow the tendon to properly heal.

If you want to stay active while you recover, do cross-training with exercises that don’t irritate your knee. Use ice to reduce inflammation and a patellar tendon strap to lessen the knee pain.

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

ITB syndrome is a common ailment when doing marathon training. Pain is felt on the outside of the knee, particularly when your heel hits the ground.

This is a result of overuse or tightness in the iliotibial band, a layer of connective tissue that runs from your hip, down your outer thigh to your knee.

A fluid-filled sac, known as a bursa, acts as a buffer between this band and your knee. It helps the band stretch smoothly as you bend and straighten your leg. If your ITB band becomes too tight, it squeezes the bursa causing inflammation and pain.

Treat this condition by foam rolling your outer thigh. You can also ice this area to reduce pain.

To prevent this problem from occurring, strengthen your core, hips, and glute muscles to ensure you maintain proper running form. You can also try taking shorter strides when you run.



Osteoarthritis causes knee pain, swelling, and stiffness during exercise, going up and down stairs, or even during daily activities.

This condition affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears away, causing the remaining bones to grind against one another. While there is currently no cure for Osteoarthritis, you can treat and prevent the resulting pain.

Run on soft surfaces to reduce impact. Ice the affected area and take anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling. If the pain becomes an obstacle, consider CRFA treatment to dull the sensory nerves in your knee.

Now You Know the Common Causes of Knee Pain When Running

Experiencing knee pain when running can ruin your motivation and the joy you get from exercising. Diagnosing your pain is the first step to treating the underlying condition and getting back into your running shoes.

If any of the conditions above match your symptoms, visit your doctors to set up a treatment plan today.

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