Runner’s Knee is a broad term for injuries that cause anterior knee pain, or pain in the front of the knee. This type of pain tends to be an overuse injury from repetitive trauma. There are a few diagnoses that fall under the Runner’s Knee term: Patellar Tendinitis, Quadriceps Tendonitis, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), or Synovitis of the knee. A licensed Physical Therapist can evaluate knee pain to determine what condition is causing the pain and tailor treatment accordingly.


The most common symptom of Runner’s Knee is pain in the front of the knee which worsens when running or walking, going down steps, or any activity that involves bending at the knee. The affected knee may also hurt to the touch.


Runner’s knee is typically diagnosed based on symptoms and palpation to determine where the pain occurs. To determine the cause of Runner’s Knee, a Physical Therapist may conduct a gait assessment or running analysis and evaluate hip function.


Treatment for Runner’s Knee may include therapy for the hips or feet, strengthening and stretching to correct imbalances, taping and/or bracing, foot orthotics, and correcting disordered gaits. Blood flow restriction (BFR) may be useful for strengthening the quadriceps muscle without putting pressure on the knee. In runners, a running analysis will assist a Physical Therapist in addressing imbalances and correcting running mechanics to prevent further injury.

While there are things you can do at home to decrease pain from Runner’s Knee, it’s important to seek treatment from a Physical Therapist to address the actual cause of the pain. The problem is usually related to faulty mechanics in the feet or hips, so Runner’s Knee will reoccur if the underlying issue isn’t addressed.

Many physicians recommend complete rest to heal an overuse injury such as Runner’s Knee. While rest is beneficial, patients suffering from this condition are often training for events for which they have invested time and energy. Physical Therapists specializing in sports medicine understand the desire to continue training and can support those goals as they help patients heal. They may assist in achieving “active rest” by modifying activity without an interruption to training. This may involve a focus on cross-training or training on an AlterG antigravity treadmill, which decreases body weight on joints during a workout.

No Physician Referral Necessary

If you believe you’re suffering from Runner’s Knee, call Southern Rehab & Sports Medicine for an appointment. No physician referral is necessary; most insurance covers physical therapy without a doctor visit. Until you can get in to see a Physical Therapist, modify your exercise routine and ice your knee. If necessary, over-the-counter medications may be used to reduce pain.

If you are planning to begin an exercise or training program and would like to reduce your risk of acquiring Runner’s Knee or other overuse injuries, Southern Rehab offers a cash-pay running analysis to evaluate your running mechanics and provide advice for reducing injury risk.

If you suspect you’re suffering from Runner’s Knee or would like a wellness-check to prevent injury, call one of our four Southern Rehab & Sports Medicine clinics or fill out the form below!