Should You Run with Knee Pain?

by | Apr 23, 2019 | Fitness Info, Healthy Food, Physical Therapy, Sports Medicine

Close up of legs running

You have knee pain and it has started to affect your running, should you stop running? should you rest? What about that local race that you do every year that is coming up, do you push through or hold back to rest up until that point?

Here at Odom Health and Wellness we specialize in treating the endurance athlete. These questions are some of what we help runners navigate on a daily basis to help both the elite athlete and the recreational runner transition from pain to performance.

So I have this knee pain…

With knee pain there are multiple possibilities as far as what could potentially be the source of pain. Common diagnosis that we help runners with include: 

  • Patellar Femoral Syndrome (Runner’s Knee), which is typically pain in the knee cap region and has to do with sensitivity with how the knee cap slides on the front surface of the femur and tibia bones.
  • Illiotibial Band Syndrome, often feels like a sharp stabbing pain on the outside of the knee that often times comes on when running down hills or walking down stairs.
  •  Lower Hamstring Tendinopathy: Pain on the back of the knee that typically comes on with hill work, or during the late stages of the “swing phase” of gait when your hamstrings decelerate your swing leg to prepare for ground contact.
  • Osetoarthritis: Inflammation of the joint to do gradual degenerative changes that happen in most adults. This can cause irritation that comes on first thing in the morning that gradually settles as you get moving. Contrary to popular belief, running does not cause arthritis and we help our master’s level runners who have been running for many years stay running with arthritis.

What Can I do about it?

If you are having discomfort with running, the first step is to decrease your overall volume and monitor your response. Volume can be characterized by intensity, duration, or speed at which you are running. Learning what kind of variables affect your symptoms will give you a better understanding of the behavior of your pain.

Should I keep running? or Rest?

Here is a recent slide from one of our interactive running workshops addressing when you are safe to continue running vs. seeking out your local trusted physical therapist who has experience treating runners.

I think I need to get me knee looked at. What should I do?

Typically the first line of action should be to get an evaluation from a Doctor of Physical Therapy who has experience treating runners. Often times in America, the first route that is suggested is to get X-Ray’s or MRI’s that require a significant financial investment, that ultimately don’t end up changing the treatment. To save money and time, starting with seeing your Doctor of PT to get your pain addressed quicker and save you time and money. 

During an evaluation your PT will hear your story, and perform an orthopedic examination that will look at local involvement of tissues and joints as well as global movement assessments that are specific for runners. 

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