Is runner's knee spoiling your running?

Roman Koch 19. August 2021


You’re barely 30 minutes into your run or are running downhill and feel pain on the outside of the knee. Or do you have to walk backwards during the final leg of the hike because your knee hurts so much? Here you can find out more about what causes runner’s knee and how to get rid of the pain.

This article is brought to you by Spiraldynamik

The knee joint is the largest joint in the body and is equivalent to a complex rotating hinge joint. The long thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) function as levers to increase the forces acting on the knee joint. Thus, incorrect loading can quickly cause pain in the muscle and tendon insertions on the knee joint.

Everything from the foot to the pelvis need to be properly aligned

Instability above and below will cause the knee joints to suffer. Your feet are your foundation and if they wobble, your knee joints are likely to pay the price. If there is instability in the hips and pelvis, this bad stimulus immediately affects the knee joint. The knee joint itself can become misaligned due to insufficient rotational stability, for example, or an inward turn of the knee. All this can lead to runner's knee. The long tendon plate (iliotibial band) on the outer side of the thigh is placed under too much tension due to the incorrect loading. The too tight band rubs on a bony bump on the outside of the knee joint, which irritates the iliotibial band! The pain can be so severe it can even force you to give up. Conclusion: the excessive tension on the band needs to be removed, but how?

This three-step plan will help you

Firstly, the leg axis needs to be properly aligned: the feet should be facing forward and planted firmly on the ground. The knees are perpendicular to the feet. The pelvis is also upright. You can now draw a vertical line from the middle of your groin across the thigh to the centre of the knee and then to your second toe. Secondly, this line should remain unchanged as soon as you stand on one leg. The body’s reference points remain the same, but your centre of gravity shifts slightly to the side. Your foot, knee, and hip stay in line. Thirdly, you now need to integrate this into your everyday training. The same principle is applied to every step you take, whether jogging, walking, or going up or down the stairs: the leg axis remains straight, come what may! And once you no longer have pain on the outside of your knee, you can return to your sport.