Knee cap pain is common in runners. But, the good news is that through simple tips you can improve your knee cap pain. We recommend that if you have knee cap pain during running, you should:
Here are 5 tips to help you achieve less pain during and after running (see the video, infographic and the text below):
1. Increase training frequency to decrease each session’s duration (for example, instead of running 5km, 3 times in a week, run 3km, 5 times in a week).
2. Decrease your running speed by approximately 10-20%. For example, if you normally run 5 minutes per km, try running at 6 minutes per km.
3. Try using a run-walk program where you have walking breaks. For example, run for 4 minutes, walk for 1 minute.
4. Avoid downhill and stairs running, and gradually reintroduce once pain has settled to an acceptable level (no more than 2/10).
5. Try increasing the number of steps you take per minute, without running faster. It is often achievable to increase by between 5 and 10%, and this frequently leads to less load on your knees. This can be done by thinking about taking shorter faster steps, using a metronome, or running with music at a set tempo (beats per minute) similar to how many steps per minute you aim to take. According to experts, this is likely to be most effective in people who take 170 or less steps per minute.
As your pain reduces, you may gradually reintroduce your normal running behaviour, including returning to longer runs, increasing speed, removing walking breaks and reintroducing hills and stairs. Try to only change one thing at a time, and ensure as you do this, your pain remains no more than 2/10.
Esculier 2018. Is combining gait retraining or an exercise programme with education better than education alone in treating runners with patellofemoral pain? A randomised clinical trial.