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Runner’s Knee Prevention
Knowledge Center

Runner’s Knee Prevention

June 17, 2019
Female runner stretching outdoors.

Runner’s knee, patellofemoral pain syndrome, is usually relieved with rest, activity revisions or physical therapy. It may recur if you do not make changes to your training routine or activity level. There are steps that you can take to prevent recurrence of runner’s knee, including:  

  • Wear shoes appropriate for the activity.
  • Warm up before physical activity.
  • Incorporate stretching and flexibility exercises.
  • Increase training gradually.
  • Reduce any activity that hurts the knees.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Stretch after physical activity.

It is essential to maintain appropriate conditioning of the muscles around your knee, particularly the quadriceps and the hamstrings, to provide stability for the knee joint. Performing the following exercises two or three times a week can help avoid muscle weaknesses and imbalances:

Single-Leg Squat targets your gluteus maximus, the primary muscle that helps your hip extend. Start with legs hip-width apart. Rest your weight on your right leg, lifting the left foot slightly. Bend your right knee, slowly lowering toward the ground as if you’re trying to sit in a chair. Return to standing. Two to three sets of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.

Low Lunge engages all of the muscles in your hips and legs. Start standing with legs hip-width apart. Step your left foot behind you, keeping the left leg straight, while you bend your right knee to 90 degrees to form a lunge. Lean forward so your hands are on either side of your right foot. Hold for a few seconds. Push forward with both feet to return to starting position. Two to three sets of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.

Side Lunge engages the gluteus medius. Start with feet together, with weight resting on your left leg, right foot slightly above the ground, so you are balancing on one leg. Step your right leg out to the side, bending your knee as you land, keeping the left leg straight. Immediately use your right foot to push back to starting position. Do two to three sets of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.

Wall Sits strengthen the quadriceps. Sit with your back against a wall with your knees bent to about 90 degrees. Hold for 30-45 seconds or until your quads burn. Perform 2-5 sets. If you suffer with runner’s knee, patellofemoral pain syndrome, the DOC sports medicine orthopedic surgeons and specialty trained PAs are available 7 days a week for an evaluation, accurate diagnosis and best treatment options. The DOC guest care team of physical therapists will create a customized rehabilitation exercise program to get you back on the track or trail.  

For more information, go to Runner’s Knee: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.


7 Moves to Help Prevent Runner’s Knee Before It Strikes | Daily Burn

4 Exercises to Tackle Runner’s Knee | Trail Runner Magazine

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