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Runner’s Knee: strengthening exercises to eradicate this common running injury

Running Tip of the Week #4


Chondromalacia patellae AKA Runner’s Knee refers to the “progressive erosion of the articular cartilage of the knee joint, that is the cartilage underlying the kneecap (patella) that articulates with the knee joint.”
Runner’s knee is one of the most common injuries suffered by runners everywhere. I don’t care whether you run on roads, trails, treadmill, in supportive shoes, orthotics, minimalist shoes or even no shoes; you need to take preventative measures to avoid runner’s knee.

I don’t know any runners to haven’t, at some point in their running career, experienced pain in the knees due to this affliction. Running can be harsh on your body, that’s ok, our bodies are surprisingly resilient. I don’t recommend stopping or cutting back your running (unless in severe pain). What I do recommend though it that you integrate a few key strengthening exercises to make sure you aren’t sidelined by this chronic injury.

The video below gives us four great exercises that we can easily integrate into our life. Do these whenever it
works for you. I think the ideal time to do these exercises is just after you finish your easy day runs. You will be warmed up but not too fatigued to place added stress on your muscles.
I specifically chose this video because it offers you exercises you can do absolutely anywhere at any time. The only tools they use are a step up box and cones. These can easily be replaced by a stump and lawn gnomes…or something like that. Please please please start integrating this into your routine. If you want your running to be sustainable, the sooner you build strength where you need it, the sooner your sidelining injuries will cease to exist.

Finally, if you are already experiencing pain from Runner’s Knee and seek immediate relief; the best treatment is to start these exercises and manually ice twice a day. The best product out there for manual spot treatment icing is the Pro-Tec Ice-Up Portable Ice Massager. This product is stored in your freezer and makes icing easy and convenient for any part of your body. A cheaper option is to freeze water in a dixie cup, then peel off top half of cup and massage.


1 Andy Eaton { 06.19.11 at 4:08 am }

Great article I’ve been suffering from runners knee and since I started doing exercises to strengthen my quad muscles the pain has almost gone I also been trying to run in vibram fivefingers. Today I ran 6.2 miles and all I felt were a couple of slight two gets nothing bad at all so I highly reccommend starting these exercises

2 Chase { 07.07.11 at 5:55 pm }

How have the vibrams been treating you? I gave up on forefoot striking…it’s not for me…but I know that it has it’s applications and some people thrive with it.

3 Andy Eaton { 07.08.11 at 5:23 am }

The Vibrams are awesome and I now run 3 miles in them. I get no pain and my runners knee has gone, haven’t felt the twinge in a while now so fingers crossed its all gone.

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