I'm a keen runner suffering from knee pain. Can physio help?

01 August 2017

Q: I’m a keen runner training for a couple of charity runs this summer but have been suffering from knee pain. Can physiotherapy help or should I skip the runs this season?

A: Knee pain is a common side effect when one steps up their training. Here are a few top tips to think about before you get started:

  • A run-walk programme is a great way to get started (run for one minute, walk for two and repeat 5 times). Increase the time you run and decrease the time you walk over a number of sessions.
  • The correct footwear is crucial to keeping injury free. Make sure you have the correct type of trainer for your feet, as uncontrolled pronation under or over can create long term problems. This can be done by visiting a good local running shop.

For the more experienced runners like you, there are a few things to consider before giving up on the charity runs:

  • How old are your trainers? Running shoes lose their bounce so review your footwear often.
  • Consider warming up and cooling down on your longer runs. Runners (myself included) are pretty bad at warming up, but I can’t think of any sport where this works well! Walking, squats, knee raises and heel flicks will only take a few minutes but can make a huge difference on performance and injury prevention. The same goes for a cool down.
  • Increasing the distance too quickly can cause issues for both experienced and novice runners. A well-recognised strategy is to increase distance by just 10% per week, running 2 to 3 times per week. So start your training early.

If these basic strategies don’t help, the next step could be to visit a physiotherapist with a good knowledge of biomechanics and running. Try not to ignore the problem, as it tends to just go away until you try to run again.

Matt Papworth is a keen runner and the Physiotherapy Team Leader at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.


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