Running Knee Pain

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Today's Ask A Pro question targets the knee. In this case a runner is dealing with knee pain during her run and is not sure what the cause is.

Q:

I started running outdoors again now that the weather has been better but I’ve been noticing that I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain on the outside part of my knee. The pain starts a couple minutes into my run and eventually gets worse the longer I run. I’ve been good at applying ice to the area, but it just always seems to come back everytime I run again. What is causing this pain?

A:

The pain you’re experiencing may be caused by an irritation of the iliotibial band (IT Band) on the condyle of the femur (or bony protrusion on the thigh bone). The IT band is a group of tough fibers that run along the side of the hip, down the side of the thigh, and attaches near the outside of the knee. This group of fibers acts as a stabilizer of the hips, particularly when you’re running.

The irritation of the IT band could be caused by either training error or malalignment of the body. Training error may be caused by running on only one side of the street, where the road is sloped downwards causing the outer leg to be lower than the inside leg. The pelvis then tilts to one side causing the IT band to be strained. Abnormalities can be caused by hip misalignment, tight gluteal muscles, or over pronating feet. All of which may cause the pelvis to tilt and strain the IT band.

The highly trained therapists at Evolution Sport Therapy will be able to determine which structures are causing the irritation through a proper assessment addressing the root of the problem as well as proper treatment for the knee itself.

Jonathan Sun BPE, CAT(C)

Certified Athletic Therapist. Connect with