Running With A Knee Injury: Good Or Bad?

Brodie Sharpe

One of the most common injuries for runners is Patellofemoral joint pain AKA ‘Runner’s knee’. This injury is due to an overloaded kneecap with activities such as running, sitting and squatting. For more information about PFJ pain you can refer to How to treat your running injury. However, in this blog we will discuss if it’s okay to run with pain.

Can you still run with Patello-femoral pain?

It is never a fun experience for anyone, but can you still run with this condition? If your symptoms are irritated with walking, you might need a day or 2 of rest. But research has been published to show low levels of pain during and after exercise may help recovery. Because this injury is correlated to spikes in training load, it’s best to return with a conservative mileage while constantly paying attention to symptoms. As a rule of thumb, pain levels below a 5 out of 10 during a run that stays at low levels the following 24 hours is a sign of success. If pain levels are higher then a 5, try combining a run with treatment and re-evaluate running symptoms.

Runners knee treatment?

If your Runner’s knee is proving to be more stubborn, a visit to the physiotherapist may be necessary. Running can still be achieved but treatment may be implemented in the short term to reduce symptoms while you continue running. These include:

  • Patella taping
  • Quad stretches
  • Running gait retraining
  • Patella mobilization

Keep in mind that research for a knee injury recommends the above treatments for short-term benefits only. For long-term results, a tailored strengthening program is gold-standard. If pain levels are still elevated then running may need to be substituted with cross-training and strengthening for 2-3 weeks. Once symptoms are settled, working with your running coach, physio or health professional to implement a return to run program will allow a swift recovery.

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References

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