Is Knee Pain Inevitable for Runners

Is Knee Pain Inevitable for Runners

Knee pain is a common concern among runners, but understanding the facts and incorporating evidence-based strategies can help mitigate the risk. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, up to 42% of runners experience knee pain at some point during their training. However, research also suggests that proactive measures, such as cross-training with weights, can significantly reduce the incidence of knee pain and injuries.

Unpacking Knee Pain in Runners

Statistics aside, knee pain in runners often stems from biomechanical factors, training errors (like managing distance/volume/intensity), and muscle imbalances. Research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy indicates that improper running form and inadequate strength in the muscles surrounding the knees contribute to the development of knee pain. Addressing these factors through targeted interventions is key to preventing and managing knee pain in runners.

Strategic Training Strategies

Strategic Training Strategies

To mitigate the risk of knee pain, runners should adopt a balanced training approach that includes gradual mileage increases, proper rest and recovery, and strength training exercises. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who engaged in regular strength training experienced a 56% reduction in knee injuries compared to those who did not. By incorporating exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts, runners can strengthen the muscles around the knees, improve joint stability, and reduce the risk of injury.

Get Someone to Help

Partnering with a physical therapist or personal trainer with a strong background in endurance sports may be the difference between making it to the start on raceday or not.  At different times in our careers, several members of our team of PTs have spent time with other therapists and coaches so we could perform at our best!

Empowering Runners with Knowledge

While knee pain may be a prevalent concern for runners, it should not overshadow the joy and benefits of the sport. Armed with research-backed strategies and a proactive mindset, runners can navigate knee pain with confidence and resilience. By understanding the contributing factors, incorporating strength training, and embracing cross-training with weights, runners can protect their knees while maximizing their performance potential.


Knee pain in runners is likely, but not inevitable.  And training in the gym doesn’t have to be scary.  If you need a good place to start, schedule a call with us today.

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Dr. Ross Gentry


"This is Physical Therapy for Athletes. We relieve pain and ensure you're ready to do what you love"

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