When a runner has a painful knee: Which exercises can help me

Do you also belong to sport enthusiasts who loves to move and run? Then keep reading, because this article is exactly for you! If you run, it should be a priority for you to know how to run correctly. You will find that out in this article: How to run correctly and why should you use a tape?


In this article we will discuss situation when you already are injured or something hurts you. Pain is a warning signal that there is something wrong with the body, and there is a risk that further activity may result in injury. Running when you’re in pain is really not a good idea. The pain can come from any body part. Every part of the body is extensively connected to the more distant areas. If you feel pain in the lumbar spine area, it doesn’t have to mean the cause of the problem is in the same area. The cause can be for example wrong posture of the knees. Because the pressure is being transferred unevenly through them, it burdens some of the parts more than the others, which can result for example in a back pain. If you feel pain in your knees, and you can’t find any obvious problem, it is possible that the cause is coming from the foot arch. Transferred pain and connections between muscle chains have a difficult character, which can be explained by every physiotherapist at our facility. The basis of successful treatment of injured or painful knees is a professional diagnosis. That is examined by orthopedist, rehabilitation doctor or physiotherapist.


Examinations haven’t found any change in the bone structure, cartilages, joint capsules, ligaments or muscles, but the knees still continue to hurt you? Such problem is called functional disorder. If the tissues are healthy, the problem will be in incorrect use of their function. Most common cause is usually muscle imbalance and disorder of muscle dynamics. Another reason can be inflammation of periosteum (tibial syndrome) or iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS).

Shortened muscles cause muscle imbalance between each muscle groups and increase the pressure on the attachment tendons, which can hurt you. In such case stretching can be optional as it stretches the shortened muscles, and relieves the tension on the tendons which are attached in the knee area. Dynamics of the muscle groups will rapidly improve.


Example of stretching of the legs with focus on the muscle groups which affect the knee:

Stretching the back side of the thigh:

  • Place one of your legs on the elevated surface. Direct your pelvis forwards, press the hip of the stretched leg as low as possible. Pull your toes towards yourself. Keep your trunk straight and move closer to your knee.
    In standing position, cross your legs, lean forward and rotate your trunk to the side where leg is crossing the leg beneath. Then switch legs.
  • Stretching the front side of the thighs:
    Lay on your abdomen, bend one of your legs in the knee and keep both knees close to each other. Bend the knee as much as you can and hold your ankle with your hands. Press your hand on the ankle, so that the heel would get closer to the buttocks.

Stretching the front side of the thighs:

  • Lay on your abdomen, bend one of your legs in the knee and keep both knees close to each other. Bend the knee as much as you can and hold your ankle with your hands. Press your hand on the ankle, so that the heel would get closer to the buttocks.

YT Stretching the front side thigh

Stretching the inner side of the thigh:

Sit down and spread your legs. Direct your toes upwards, keep your spine straight and stretch your arms on the ground as fart as you can.
Lay on your side on your bed, keep your lower leg bent, and the upper leg stretched. Move your buttocks closer to the edge of the bed, so you could drop your upper leg down over the edge of the bed. Trunk is in one straight line. Keep stretching the thigh by the weight of the leg.

Stretching the tibial muscle:

  • Put your toes against a wall, stretch your knee, and push your pelvis towards the wall.

Stretch only till pleasant feeling, not till it starts to hurt.

The time of stretching one muscle area is 30 seconds.

Stretch the muscles after short warm up (for example 10 minute walk).


Examination with magnetic resonance (MRI), CT, ultrasound and clinical tests will show the damage of the soft tissues. In such case it is optional to work on stability of the knee by exercising the surrounding muscles, so there would be strong muscle group holding the knee. If there is a disorder in the structures, you should not exercise classical strengthening exercises. It is much more effective to train the knees with sensorimotor stimulation on unstable surfaces (sensory motor stimulation (SMS)).

We pick few exercises for you:

  • Exercising on the balance device BOSU - Lunge
  • Exercising on the balance device BOSU - Squat
  • Exercising on the balance device BOSU - Balance steps
  • Posturomed

The most effective way to get rid of knee pain is to visit specialist, who can determine the exact problem and will recommend you the most adequate solution. FYZIOklinika is offering the folowing option:

The diagnosis is supplemented by clinical tests performed by professionally trained physiotherapists (overview of the methods used in physiotherapy).


  • First aid against knee pain
  • Exercises against knee pain
  • Exercises against knee pain by using exercising tool
  • Exercises for stabilizing ankles and knees
  • Exercises for stabilizing ankles and knees by using exercising tool

FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic
Source: Clinical experience from private practice in physiotherapeutic field, FYZIOklinika

Login to post comments

Exercises that might interest you

Stretching the backside of the thighs

Muscles in the back side of the thighs (hamstring muscle)…

Stretching and relaxation of the peroneal muscles

This exercise will relieve the muscle tension in the front…

Automatic mobilization of the sacroiliac joint - moving knee forward

Goal of the exercise: Mobilization of the sacroiliac joint

Videos that might interest you


Kneeling on one leg - stretching the front and inner part of the thigh muscle


Strengthening the abdominal muscles, leg muscles and improving the core stability system


Exercising on a balance device BOSU - stretching legs on all fours

What might interest you

Use of shockwave therapy in sports

Are you active or recreational athlete? Do you feel pain reguarly and directly in a specific muscle? Did you pull…

Orthosis or Bandage? Which is better for you?

„Give your body as much passive support as possible, but not more than is needed." Orthosis Effects of orthosis Stabilization…

Jumper’s knee - patellar tendinitis

Do you feel pain when you jump? After you are done running, your knee hurts even when you rest? Do…