The majority of knee pain that occurs can be traced to some sort of condition occurring in the knee. However, this does not mean you have to let the pain control your daily activity.

Just like any other high impact activity, running can also be rough on the knees. This means even the easiest of activity can cause excruciating knee pain. When running is concerned, the amount of pain can become worse for many different reasons. It is important to know the reasons behind your knee pain while running so that way you can apply the best treatment for it.

The Causes of Knee Pain Caused by Running

The causes of knee pain stems from conditions affecting the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Each of these play a major role in absorbing impact caused while running. Although ligament damage mostly occurs while playing a physical sport, running still has the potential to cause damage due to constant running in different terrains. If a broken bone occurs in the leg, it could possibly cause damage to the knee, depending on where the break occurs. Conditions that occur most often affect the knee’s cartilage, tendons, and joint, which can be blamed on a muscle losing its equilibrium.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the six common causes of knee pain while running.

1.  Iliotibial Band Syndrome

A condition known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome is frequently seen among knee pain sufferers and the runner. The pain that is experienced is sharp and runs along either side of the knee joint. There is still a lot of discussion surrounding the reason for the pain; however, some believe the reason to be from too much movement side to side, tightness in the hip area, inadequate approach towards running, or poor muscle involvement.

However, you may also notice the pain decreasing while running faster. This decrease in knee pain is due to the compressing of the ITB band during the flexion of the knee. This is why training that is high-intensity is always recommended by physiotherapy professionals.

For treating the pain, the best is to mobilize and strengthen the knee, especially around the glutes. This is because the glutes assist in pelvis stabilization as this is where the IT band is located.

2. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The pain caused by the Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is identified by inflammation and pain encompassing the patella. Like we see with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, the pain caused by Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome cannot be determined by normal exertion. The only condition that seems to make sense the most is due to general weakness of the quadriceps. If you notice this pain increasing as you run, then it would be a good idea to begin strengthening your thighs or conduct a good cross training regimen.

3. Patellar Tendonitis

Experiencing a pain accompanied with tenderness as you bend your knee is due to a condition known as patellar tendonitis. If you are a constant runner, then you will likely experience this during heavy sessions of training. If resting is not allowed, then you will experience even more problems that may cause the condition to become long lasting and demanding constant rehab. As far as healing is concerned, tendons normally take more time because of the decreased amount of blood that is needed to increase the healing process. With that, you need to have patience as it slowly heals on its own.

Some evidence has shown training consisting of isometric movements to be very helpful in decreasing patellar tendonitis pain.

4. Osteoarthritis

When 40 hits, you may start to feel an increase in knee pain that is general in nature that centers on the inner joint. If you do, then it is likely to be osteoarthritis. This condition involves the knee’s articular cartilage that lies on the joint’s surface and assures that all movement is smooth. When osteoarthritis occurs, the cartilage deteriorates and causes your bone to rub on each other. This can cause the growth of bone spurs, which can increase the amount of pain in the knee.

5. Meniscal Irritation

There are two menisci located in each knee. These are present to absorb the shock that running causes. If you run too much, they will eventually develop pain because of tiny tissue tears taking place. To help with relief, you can conduct some lighter training that can provide the same result as running. However, it will take time to heal as the blood supply is very limited in the area.

6. Knee bursitis

Bursitis takes place in the knee joint’s bursae, which is a fluid sac that becomes irritated. Although there are many types of bursitis possible, there are two types that runners experience the most. The first is known as Pes Anserine. This bursitis causes damage to the inner knee closest to your hamstring. The second is known as Prepatellar bursitis and causes damage to the patella (kneecap).

Pain is felt along the patella or under the joint just on the inside of the knee.

Inflammation of the bursae occurs when there is an increase in knee strain. This strain is thus the result of a runner suddenly running a further distance or faster.

To help with relief, your best bet would be to integrate a combination of anti-inflammatory medicines, rest, and cold compresses. If you feel the need, you can continue running if the swelling has subsided. For instances of more extreme pain, therapy may be necessary. If therapy brings no relief, then surgery may be the only feasible option and have the bursa removed. In rare cases, an infection may occur, which may need antibiotic treatment.


Although the causes of knee pain stemming from running is not unheard of, this is especially true if a runner decides to occasionally run further and faster than normal. Temporary relief is possible for all pain and injuries that the knee incurs and includes the RICE treatment method. However, if you feel that you are not experiencing any relief on your own, then you should make an appointment with physiotherapists in Singapore so they can assess your situation.