Tips that make a runner’s knee forget

Tips that make a runner's knee forget

Runner’s knee – also known as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS),  iliotibial band syndrome or “runner’s knee” – primarily affects joggers. They experience stabbing pain in the knee due to overuse of the musculoskeletal system. Sometimes, the symptoms can become so severe that regular walking is impossible. With such complaints, a break from sports is significant. In addition, the knee can also be treated with anti-inflammatory ointments. Find out here what else you can do about a runner’s knee and how to prevent the symptoms.

Runner’s knee: overload as a cause

One speaks of a runner’s knee when the tractus iliotibialis – a tendon plate – rubs along the joint protrusion of the thigh. This tendon plate comes from the pelvis and runs down the side of the thigh to the tibial plateau. Usually, it slides past the knee joint without any problems. A runner’s knee, however, repeatedly rubs against the bone, which strains the tissue and can inflame it.

A runner’s knee is considered the most common cause of pain outside the knee.

It occurs primarily in long-distance runners and cyclists. In addition, athletes such as basketball or handball players and people with bowlegs can also be affected.


Causes: How does a runner’s knee develop?

The cause of a runner’s knee is incorrect or overuse of the musculoskeletal system. However, the occurrence of the symptoms can be favoured by various factors. In addition to the bowlegs, this primarily includes a weakness in the pelvic stabilizers. As a result, the non-load-bearing hip sinks and excessive traction on the iliotibial band may occur.

In addition, the following factors also have a negative influence:

  • Different leg length
  • Shortened muscles on the outside of the thigh
  • Supination of the foot (tilting towards the outer edge)
  • overweight

Another possible methodological cause is a training build-up that needs faster and more quick training units. Likewise, training on outwardly sloping roads can also have a negative effect.

Symptoms of runner’s knee

The typical symptom of a runner’s knee is stabbing pain on the outside of the joint. This knee pain can be so severe that walking is no longer possible, and regular walking is also significantly restricted. As a rule, the pain initially only occurs when running and walking. The pain can also be felt when walking downhill or cycling.

Other symptoms that can accompany runner’s knee include:

  • Swelling of the knee joint
  • Overheating of the knee joint
  • knee joint effusion


Diagnosis: How to recognize an ITBS?

A doctor can often diagnose a runner’s knee without imaging tests. It is usually sufficient if the patient describes the symptoms and the doctor scans the affected area. If the case is unclear, a more detailed diagnosis must be made to distinguish the runner’s knee from other knee problems, such as meniscus damage or arthrosis.

Therapy: What to do with a runner’s knee?

There are several measures available to treat runner’s knee:

  • It is essential during treatment that the knee is sufficiently protected. As long as pain occurs, it would help to refrain from training altogether.
  • bandage can help stabilize the knee.
  • It is also recommended to cool the knee.
  • Use an anti-inflammatory ointment on the painful area.
  • In addition, taping the area of ​​the iliotibial tract with Kinesio tape can help relieve the pain.
  • If the symptoms are very severe, you can also use painkillers.
  • If the pain does not subside after a few minutes, the doctor can alleviate the symptoms with a cortisone injection. Before doing so, however, let yourself be informed about the possible risks.
  • The last treatment option for a runner’s knee is surgery. The tractus is incised and thereby lengthened. However, such an intervention is only necessary in sporadic cases.

prognosis and course

It can take some time for a runner’s knee to subside and for the irritated condition to resolve. However, the injury is often wholly healed after two to six weeks. In individual cases, however, the symptoms can also take longer to stop occurring.

Whether and how quickly the pain subsides largely depends on your behaviour. It is important not to strain the knee too early. Otherwise, an injury cycle can occur. You should, therefore, only start light training again when the typical symptoms have subsided. If pain occurs again during training, you should stop the exercise immediately and pause again.

If the knee is not sufficiently protected, a chronic course is possible. This can lead to irreparable damage to the knee, which causes permanent problems. It is, therefore, essential to allow the injury to heal completely.


Exercises to treat ITBS

In the case of an acute runner’s knee, the symptoms can be relieved by stretching the iliotibial tract and strengthening the pelvic stabilizers. The following two exercises are helpful:

  1. Stretch the outside of your legs: Standing straight, cross your legs by crossing your right leg over your left leg, slightly offset. Now stretch your left arm and slowly tilt your upper body to the right or the right in front. Hold the tension for a few seconds and then do the exercises with the other side of the body.
  2. Strengthen the pelvic stabilizers: Stand sideways on a step and let one leg hang slightly. Now lower the pelvis on this side and then raise it again. Make sure that your knees remain straight. Perform 15 repetitions and then switch sides.

Preventing a runner’s knee

Especially if you are very active in sports and run or ride a bike a lot, you should pay attention to a few things to prevent runner’s knee:

  • Do stretching exercises for the tracts regularly. The exercises for treatment are also well suited for prevention.
  • Be sure to do regular abdominal, back, and pelvic stabilizer strengthening exercises. Suitable exercises for the stomach and back can be found here.
  • Always warm up sufficiently before engaging in prolonged exercise, as this can reduce the risk of injury.
  • Buy good running shoes – this can often prevent symptoms. It is best to get detailed advice in a sports shop and, if necessary, do a treadmill analysis there. You should wear special insoles in your running shoes if you have bowlegs.

These tips can help prevent a runner’s knee.

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