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Pain Behind Knee While Running

People who sit for most of the day in sedentary jobs or a sedentary lifestyle have a high chance to develop pain behind the knee.

It typically feels like mild or severe discomfort that radiates from the back of the knee cap touching the thigh bone. However, it can be treated by physical therapy or by medication.

Is Pain Behind The Knee Normal?

Pain behind the knee is a very common complaint caused by high-impact exercises like running. However, it’s common doesn’t mean it should be ignored or left untreated. Also, If you experience swelling, clicking, locking or giving-way of the knee, You must visit a doctor immediately.

However, When you first notice pain behind the knee, it will be particularly helpful if you track your exercise regimen with a fitness app to identify periods of intense exercise and how your activity level varies. Also, Tracking all this information will inform your physician of details that can be helpful in your diagnosis and treatment plan.

What Causes Pain Behind The Knee?

There are a number of causes that concludes to knee pain:

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Knee injury.
  • Cancerous growth.
  • Infection.

However, the symptoms of knee pain depend on the cause. You may have swelling or pain when you move your knee a certain way. Or You may also feel pain when running or after running due to any underlying medical condition.

What Does It Mean If I Have Pain Behind My Knee When Running?

If you have pain behind the knee when running you probably have a runner’s knee.

Runner’s knee

Runner’s knee – also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome –  is an overuse injury that affects as many as 30% of female runners and 25% of male runners. That makes it the most common running-related injury.

However, Runner’s knee is a common term used to describe any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. Any activity that repeatedly stresses the knee joint can cause the disorder. This includes walking, biking, jumping, or cycling. However, it’s more common in women than in men, and mostly in women of middle age. Also, People who are overweight are especially prone to the disorder.

However, two of the most common syndromes caused by runner’s knee include:

  1. Iliotibial band syndrome.
  2. Jumper’s knee.

What Is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome is a common overuse injury, affecting as many as 12% of runners. It happens when the tendon from your hip to the outer knee tightens and irritates your outer knee area, causing pain.

Like runner’s knee, IT band syndrome often happens when you’ve increased the miles you run.

What Is a Jumper’s Knee?

Jumper’s knee – also called patellar tendonitis – is an overuse injury that occurs when a tendon is overloaded, causing it to thicken. I see this most often in younger patients who complain about pain in the front of the knee.

It can be especially painful when you squat, jump or land. Jumper’s knee typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood.

Does Runner’s knee go away?

Most of the time, the runner’s knee goes away on its own. With proper rest or icing. You should be able to resume running before you know it. Your doctor may suggest you take aspirin or ibuprofen to help alleviate the pain.

How is a runner’s knee treated?

Your doctor will prescribe you treatment according to the underlying cause, However, in most cases, a runner’s knee can be successfully treated without surgery. Most often, the first step in treatment is to practice RICE:

  • Rest: Avoid repetitive stress on the knee.
  • Ice: To reduce pain and swelling, apply an ice pack or a package of frozen peas to the knee for up to 30 minutes at a time and avoid any heat to the knee.
  • Compression: Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or sleeve to restrict swelling but not too tightly as to cause swelling below the knee.
  • Elevation: Place a pillow under your knee when sitting or lying down to prevent further swelling. When there is significant swelling, keep the foot elevated above the knee and the knee above the level of the heart.


If you need additional pain relief, you can take certain over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, However, there are also other OTC pain-relief methods available, including creams and gels which can help knee pain when running.

Physical therapy:

Once the pain and swelling have subsided, your doctor may recommend specific exercises or physical therapy to restore your knee’s full strength and range of motion. They may tape your knee or give you a brace to provide extra support and pain relief. You may also need to wear shoe inserts known as orthotics.

Knee Support when running:

Using Knee supports when running can reduce knee pain and improve function. Luckily, the common knee brace offers an accessible, affordable, and effective intervention for many knee problems.

Keep in mind that everyone is different. In some cases, wearing a knee brace may cause you to not use the muscles that support your knee as much as you should. This in turn may make you rely on your knee brace for stability instead of muscles like your quadriceps. Your best bet is to talk with your physical therapist about strengthening your legs and use a knee brace.

How can we Prevent pain behind the knee?

Common prevention tips include hands-on therapy to relieve pain and help alleviate tightness where appropriate. It will also include exercises that will progress to strengthen weaker muscles.

Other tips you can incorporate into your daily life include:

  • Exercise regularly to keep your muscles and bones strong. Increase activity gradually to avoid injury.
  • Make sure you properly warm up and cool down from all athletic activities.
  • Wear any recommended orthotics to keep the alignment of your leg in check.
  • Incorporate strength training into your routine to target your leg muscles.







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