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Exercises to Avoid “Runner’s Knee”

Photo credit: Karpati Gabor from

As winter melts away and the weather turns warm  many of you will begin to trade in your skies for your running and hiking shoes.  With returning to running often comes the dreaded “runner’s knee”.  In the medical community the pain often referred to as “runner’s knee” is called patella-femoral syndrome.  Runner’s knee is a condition caused by lateral tracking of the knee cap causing rubbing on the bone.

What does runner’s knee feel like? The symptoms associated with runner’s knee are:

  • Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.
  • Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting.
  • Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill.
  • Swelling.
  • Popping or grinding sensations in the knee.


By taking a few proactive steps to get your body ready for the activity to come you are more likely to avoid unnecessary injury (and the recovery time that follows!). I often recommend preseason exercises to hopefully avoid knee pain and get your season started right.

Follow this link for a quick summary of strengthening and stretching exercises to do from Mike Reinold, a world-renowned leader in the field of sports medicine, rehabilitation, fitness, and sports performance.

Here’s to a fun and injury-free Springtime!

~Alex Lanton, Atlas Physical Therapy Stapleton