RunningFilter: What should I do to fix behind-the-knee pain?
August 20, 2018 12:17 PM   Subscribe

After running short distances, I have a pain/ache behind the left knee. It goes away after a rest of a few days but then comes back again when I run. What can I do to fix this? Is this because I've got weak muscles in the knee area? If so, what would be an exercise regime for it?
posted by storybored to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had persistent knee pain a few years ago when I was in cross-country in college. Running on softer surfaces (grass, that springy rubber track material, dirt) helped, as did switching to new shoes. I also did lunges as part of a cooldown after running to help strengthen the muscles around my knees.

...To be perfectly honest though, what finally got rid of the knee pain was taking a months-long break from running and then very slowly increasing mileage and speed over the next couple of years (I kept spraining my ankle and getting shin splints, which is why I took so long to ramp up again). All of the above that I mentioned didn't do much to reverse the fact that I was running multiple times a week and doing longer distances.
posted by devrim at 12:25 PM on August 20, 2018


By "behind the knee" do you mean pain just behind the knee cap, or actually at the back of the knee? Pain just behind the kneecap (on the inner side) is likely patellofemoral pain. Pain on the outter (and usually just above the knee) side is usually ITBS. You can use these terms to search for strengthening exercises. Hint, most of the exercises will actually be for your hips/glutes than your knees.

Additionally consider your running form. A lot of new runners try to do distance running with a similar form to that of a sprinter. E.G. reaching forward with their legs and bounding up and down a lot. Try taking faster, but smaller steps. Your foot should land near to under your center of weight.
posted by nobeagle at 12:45 PM on August 20, 2018


If it's lateral knee pain behind the kneecap, try a foam roller on the IT band area. Works for me.
posted by Dmenet at 1:43 PM on August 20, 2018


Seconding IT band stretches. There are some you can do without any equipment and they will make a difference.
posted by clockwork at 2:03 PM on August 20, 2018


Seconding the idea that it may be related to needing to strengthen glutes, etc., rather than directly knee related. For me, leg lifts and barre helped, I imagine other kinds of full body strength training may be useful too.
posted by milkweed at 2:31 PM on August 20, 2018


I had this and it was due to a tight piriformus. I got it released with massage therapy. The long term solution was to strengthen my glutes and hips.
posted by airmail at 10:25 PM on August 20, 2018


Not directly related to running but I was beginning to experience some knee pain and started doing these exercises https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/knee-exercises-for-runners/ once a day.

I experienced a very marked improvement - correlation, causation and all that but that was my experience.

As others have said most of them are not directly related to knees but that page provides a decent set that you can easily follow.
posted by southof40 at 4:19 AM on August 21, 2018


If it's related to patellofemoral or IT band problems, then as others have pointed out, strengthening your hips and glutes can deliver some big improvements. I have been doing the Myrtl routine before every run for several months and have seen my number of injuries go down and some positive performance improvements. Hip and core strength can have a huge impact on knees, calves, ankles and feet.
posted by slogger at 8:59 AM on August 21, 2018


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