Runner’s knee — everything you need to know about Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


Patellofemoral pain syndrome, which is more informally known as runner’s knee, refers to a pain at the front of the knee around the patellofemoral joint.

This joint lies between the kneecap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur) and when suffering from this condition, most people feel either a dull, sharp or severe pain around or behind the kneecap.

It’s an overuse injury

“This knee condition is an overuse injury,” Denise Callaghan, Osteopath, explains. “And, as its name suggests, it’s the most common overuse injury amongst runners. But it can be a concern for people who play other sports, like tennis.”

There’s no denying the many (and seemingly never ending) benefits running can bring. From supercharging your mental health and strengthening muscles, to improving cardiovascular fitness and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

“But just like any form of movement, if you’re overusing your muscles, you haven’t warmed up correctly, or your joints aren’t being supported — you can do yourself a mischief,” Denise adds.

So, how is runner’s knee caused?

Over the years there have been a few theories of how patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused.

One train of thought is that this condition is caused by having poor biomechanics. While adopting a poor running form has been blamed too.

But according to the most recent research, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the only risk factor for developing runner’s knee was having ‘quadricep weakness’.

So how do Osteopaths deal with runner’s knee?

Manual therapy or soft tissue massage of the lower limb has been reported to be effective for pain in the knee. According to one report, researchers found just six sessions of manual therapy helps to increase knee flexion and improve activity in people with knee pain.

In the report, researchers concluded: “Manual therapy is effective in improving knee flexion and stair climbing in patients with anterior knee pain. There is a trend towards a small improvement in pain.”

Exercise and rehabilitation with specific stretches and exercises designed to strengthen your lower limbs can also help, Denise says.

‘Kneed’ help? Contact us to get your knee back on track

If you believe you are suffering with runner’s knee — or any pain in your body — do get in touch.

Denise has been an Osteopath for 35 years’ (and counting) and has treated many runners over that time, including those struggling with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

So, if you are suffering from pain, reach out. We’re here to help and get to the bottom of the issue and make sure you can get your health back on track.


If you would like to book an appointment with Denise please call