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Knee Pain from Running: My Knee Jerk Reaction

This girl must not have knee pain from running because she’s not GRIMACING. Credit: lululemon athletica

My knee is being a total jerk. Just a few weeks into my 10K training, my knee and I are already in a fight. Already making me think that I’m going to fail my No. 1 Most Important Goal: No Injuries. I take that back: I’m not going to get injured because I’m not going to stupidly ignore the pain and carry on like it’ll just magically disappear.

My right knee is not being Ms. Congeniality or anything, but it’s my left knee that’s being the real swear word. I ran through it the other day and it started feeling better after a mile or so, only to be way worse yesterday as soon as I bumped the pace up from a walk. Seriously? I’d expect this from my ankle. Or shins. But my knee? This is a new one. And even though I’m a running hater, I’m actually getting excited for the 10K! I was running my scheduled runs! And weirdly looking forward to them.

I’d been doing everything right. I didn’t think I’d overdone anything. With my easing into running strategy, I haven’t even gone over 2.5 miles for a single run. But as running is the only thing that’s new that I’ve added into my workouts lately, I’m going to ease up (aka QUIT) running for a week and see where I am. A preliminary Googling shows that maybe my hip muscles are weak or maybe my muscles are really tight. Interestingly, my left hip has been killing me in the mornings, like I’m an old lady or something, since well before I attempted running, so maybe there is truth to that Google diagnosis. It actually wouldn’t be all that surprising as my trainer had mentioned hip and thigh weakness being an area women should work on after giving birth. Not to mention, oh, my aching back lately. I’m a barrel of fun, right?

So, I’m going to focus on strengthening my core and leg muscles. And then I will ever so gingerly try again. Wish me and my knee luck.

Have you ever had knee pain from running? What cured it? —Erin

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  1. lindsay says:

    Last spring I had IT band problems, which caused my knee to hurt. I eventually went to a sports therapist and he said it was because of weak hips, which caused my knees to have a wider range of movement(be wobbly). I’ve incorporated this routine into my strength training/stretching and it’s helped: http://wewanderandponder.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/myrtl-routine.pdf.

  2. Stacee says:

    I so feel your pain, I am rehabbing an ACL reconstruction (12 weeks post op right now) and the main focus my physiotherapist is working on with me is strengthening the hips and quads (especially inner quad) muscles. I have noticed that my hips are not as sore in the morning or if I sit for long periods and have also noticed that my pants are fitting in a much different way now, with more room in the hip area.
    So doing hip extensions ( I call them donkey kicks) and hip abductions (side leg raises) along with proper form lunges have helped immensely. I also work on step ups and step downs both front facing as well as sideways, making sure to watch that my knee tracks correctly over the ankle and doesn’t swing in or out.
    Keep the faith and things will work out for you and good luck with the 10K!!!

  3. Synnove says:

    I had some low back pain last year that turned out to be an anterior tilt of my pelvis caused by sitting too much (desk job). On top of sitting too much, my quads were tight and my hamstrings weak. The solution was a lot of extra stretching for my quads and strengthening my hamstrings. Since then my low back pain has pretty much ended.

  4. When I first started running I had the worst knee pain (probably because I am about 30-40 lbs over weight for my height). What works for me is doing about 45 mins of yoga once every week or 2-it really stretches me out I guess!Bam, my knee pain went away. It amazed me how much it helped! It really helps for other sore/stiff muscles, too!

  5. Liza says:

    Same issue here, just yesterday I was recommended to try foam massages so I’ve been looking more into it just need to purchase a foam and follow the tutorials that seen to be working for everyone, if you try it before me let me know if it helped 🙂

  6. Kathy says:

    Torn meniscus for me. Time off was all that helped. Lots of time off! Now I’m trying to ease back into a 5K and every run scares me. So far so good though. Good luck!

  7. Jenny says:

    I’m having the same issues (I”m training for my first half)…it’s likely your IT band (google it, I had to!). My chiro recommended a foam roller (google, that too, there are videos on the proper use) to stretch the IT band. Also, for your hip tightness, deep lunges are your best bet, I have one hip that seems to tighten up more than the other, which coincidentally is the same side as the knee that hurts too! And if you don’t see a chiro, you might consider looking into one while you’re training: they can work on your hips and feet as well as your back. After an adjustment last week, the next day I had a completely pain free run. Ahhh-mazing! Good luck!

  8. Erin says:

    Are you sure you’re running correctly? I had the same sort of pain. My knees hurt so badly, I couldn’t get over 5 miles! Then I saw some pics of myself running in a 5k – I was hitting the ground flat-footed, despite my best efforts not to. As soon as I started hitting the ground on the balls of my feet (which felt like I was running on my tiptoes at first), my knees never hurt again and I made it up to 10 miles with no trouble whatsoever.

  9. Tabitha says:

    I completed a 10km run for the first time last year and the next day I had insane knee pain!! Not muscle pain, but a legitimate sore knee joint. It took awhile, but it was finally diagnosed a Patella-femoral Syndrome (aka – runners knee). Basically it relates back to tight IT band, and areas of the quads/hammies that are stronger where other areas aren’t. A simple imbalance. The physiotherapist gave me a few fantastic muscle building and stretching to incorporate into my daily routine, and when I stick to these, I feel fantastic! I also now use a brace to help which I swear by. Don’t give up just yet! See a physiotherapist! They know best! http://www.medicinenet.com/patellofemoral_syndrome/article.htm

  10. Shelly says:

    I hope your knee improves soon, and sorry to hear about the knee pain. I have not personally had knee trouble. I’ve been getting my best friend to go walking with me and she’s been having hip pain in the mornings. She had a baby about 4 months ago, so this post gave me some information to pass along to her. Thanks for the info, feel better soon.

  11. I really believe that it is related to the IT band. This is a very common issue for those just starting a running regimen. Use a rolling pin to push into the leg and roll down the IT band, pausing at the more painful areas.

    Orthopedic Medical Supplies and Equipment

  12. One thing is good with me is that i never got hurt from the running. I think the main reason for this is when i was doing training for running, i used speed resistance training equipment that not only made me fast but also increase my endurance and stamina level.

  13. Trish says:

    I’ve been off all summer with an overuse injury. Finally am trying an insert which is helping tremendously. Not exactly sure why it’s helping but nothing else seemed to. I am completely flat footed with a neutral gait (odd combination I am told) and I was having INTENSE knee pain, stiffness and swelling. Once that cleared up and I tried to run again, INTENSE Achilles pain. Got the insert and voila, I can run pain free again!

  14. Uuugh, Its very annoying. The pain I mean. I hope your knees improve soon and success for the 10K

  15. SusanB says:

    I found that my non-running shoes were causing my knee pain. I had a pair of flat sandals (very hard, no cushion) and a pair of wedges that once I realized it, were causing my pain. When I had a weekend off and basically just used my running shoes, even running over the weekend, I had no knee pain? I then used my running shoes during the week and no pain. I feel lucky that my knee pain is from something simple and easy to fix, don’t wear those shoes!

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