Strength training is going to be your best friend along with flexibility in the battle again this common running injury.
As the name suggests runners knee - patellofemoral pain syndrome - is one of the more common running injuries. Its generally brought on by a sudden change in training, from increased mileage or the introduction of more intense quality sessions.
I would always suggest having a sport therapist/physio taking a look and getting a proper diagnosis as pain of the knee is always runners knee. Some other forms of pain can come from ITB syndrome, Patellofemoral Pain and Patellar Tendinopathy so always worth getting it checkout before treating it.
Once you do know that it’s runner’s knee you’re dealing with, I'd suggest you have a look at the following areas;
De-load. “Reduce stress on the irritated tissues by decreasing your running volume to the level that your pain starts to settle.”
Re-load gradually. “Start increasing the training load gradually no more than 10% per week, you may also want to look at repeat weeks so you get accustomed to the increased load. Returning too fast and too hard will lead to injury, so recondition yourself slowly and allow your body time to adapt.”
Technique. “Good running form does a lot to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Getting a professional to assess your form is important.”
Stretch. “To reduce muscle tension and uneven forces across the joints.”
Strengthen. “Glutes, calves and quadriceps. Like good technique, strong muscles also help reduce joint loading.”
So, a couple of simple exercises that will help you fix knee pain are feature in the short video below.
The quad stretch will help relief any tightness in the quad muscles in the front of the thigh. there are a couple of way you can carry out the quad stretch personally I like to lie face down on the flow, bring the heel up to backside and hold. Engage your core, don't arch the lower back to much. Actively push your hip down into the floor will allow a deeper stretch. Hold that position for around 30 seconds for 2-3 rounds.
Activating the Glute muscles is so important as most of us due to not using them enough. Not only are the Glutes important hip extensors but they also play a pivotal role in hips stability. My club runners are probably stick of my repeating the importance of athletes having good balance and this is why, if a runner isn't good at stabilising the standing hip, the knee will be the one that pays for it. Hip drop is often the key sign to weakness in that area.
Try doing the Glute Bridge exercise, lay on your back with your heels tuck up to your backside , and knees about a fist gap apart. Push down through your heels, bring the hips up off the floor, squeezing the butt and hold for a count of 4 (repeat 8-10 reps).
Once you've stretch and activated then your ready to do your strength work. Again, super important to training the body to improve control over any joint area, here the focus is on the knee so you going to try the single leg partial squat.
On a raised platform, a step, exercise step or even a couple of books if you don't have anything else, bring one foot up and reach out in-front of you so that your heel touches the floor (or in that general direction). Then return to standing tall in a controlled manner.
Here, you need to focus on balance and control, you will be working hard around the hips, even the ankle to stay balanced. You also want to make sure that your knee travels in the direction of your big toe, we don't want to see your knee collapsing in!!