Colorful sunset at Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park, WY

What is Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is the name given to a specific set of conditions that involve overuse or injury of the muscles in the kneecap and thigh. Running places immense stress on the tendons, bone, and muscle in the knees and thighs, giving rise to the condition called runner’s knee. While running, the thighs and hamstrings pull on the tendons that connect them to the kneecaps. If the muscles are too tight, this can overwork the knee. Without proper training and rest, this causes runner’s knee. This is very similar to what happens in Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, a condition in which the IT band that extends from the hip constantly rubs against the thigh and puts stress on the knee.

Symptoms of Runner’s Knee

  • Pain in the kneecap area
  • Pain when moving the knee
  • Increasing pain when walking downstairs or down a hill
  • Swelling
  • Popping
  • Tenderness

What Causes Runner’s Knee?

  1. Lack of rest

Be sure to give your body enough rest between running sessions. Do not over train. If you have pain in your thighs or knees that seems worse than the usual soreness, be sure to take a few days off from running.

  1. Injury

Any type of fall or hit to the knee can cause runner’s knee.

  1. Alignment

Bones or tendons that are out of alignment places extra stress on the knee. Often, the cause of runner’s knee is found to be an improperly aligned kneecap.

  1. Fallen arches or flat feet

If your arches are fallen or you have flat feet, this puts you more at risk for runner’s knee. Arches support the feet and legs and evenly distributes weight and stress. When the arches no longer provide support, this puts added strain on your muscles and knees, especially when running. To prevent this, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that support the arches. If you have flat feet, be sure and wear inserts to support your arches.

  1. Improper shoes

Improper or overly used shoes can lead to runner’s knee due to lack of support. Make sure you buy new shoes that are specifically designed for runners. A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 500 miles.

  1. Running downhill

When running, especially if you’re getting into a new routine, avoid running downhill as much as possible. While this seems counter intuitive, running downhill actually puts more stress and strain on your knee. This is due to the biomechanics of the way your knee bends while you move down slopes. Your body is trying to overcome gravity, and this causes your knee to bend to the side while running.

  1. Weak hip adductors

Weakness in the hips puts you more at risk of runner’s knee. This is because the adductors don’t have enough strength to keep your legs properly aligned while running. This causes uneven wear in your muscles and tendons, which pulls on your knee. Regular sports massage and warm-ups keep this muscle group strong.

  1. Anterior hip tightness

Anterior hip tightness is common in runners. This tightness in the hips causes a lack of flexibility and range of motion that increases the risk of runner’s knee. To loosen your hips and prevent an injury, make sure you stretch and warm up before running. Make sure the stretches target the hip flexor and thigh region.

  1. Uneven leg length

When one of your legs is slightly shorter than the other one, the longer leg is always compensating. This causes an uneven gait, which puts strain on the knees and makes you more likely to overuse them. You can wear insoles to even your leg length. If the discrepancy is small enough, incorporating stretches and flexibility exercises into your routine can be enough to prevent runner’s knee.

Diagnosis of Runner’s Knee

If you suspect you have runner’s knee, see a doctor, physical therapist, or biomechanical expert to get properly diagnosed. Runner’s knee can mimic other types of injuries, some of which can require surgery if they are left untreated. Also, an expert can determine the exact cause of the injury and help you get the proper treatment.

Runner’s Knee Treatment

  • Rest – Often, the first step in treatment is rest. Runner’s knee is usually caused by overuse, so be sure and take a couple days off from running to allow your knee to recover. For some, this is the only treatment that is needed.
  • Ice – Ice doesn’t directly treat the cause of the injury, but it eases your symptoms. Ice reduces swelling and numbs pain and soreness. Keep the ice on your knee for twenty minutes. You can repeat this every three hours until your injury heals.
  • Stretches – Stretches ease tightness in the muscles and joints and allows for flexibility. As the muscles relax, this lessens the load on the knee and helps it heal. [click here for specific stretches]
  • MassageMassage works in a similar way to stretching in that it loosens the muscles. But, massage offers the benefit of being able to pull the muscles and tendons into better alignment.

Here are the types of massage that can help runner’s knee:

  • Active release
  • Swedish
  • Trigger point
  • Deep tissue

If you suspect you have runner’s knee, rest and get a professional diagnosis right away. Ask your doctor about how a professional sports massage from Matrix Spa & Massage can help your symptoms of Runner’s Knee. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can get back on your feet.

Matrix Spa & Massage Customer Reviews

This place is interesting and my therapist was definitely unique. He only massaged my upper body and told me to breathe into my collar bone and other instructions that I didn't quite know how to follow. My elbow was sore for a day or two after. I do think he was genuinely trying to help, but I would have liked more explanation of what was the rationale behind the movements and instructions. I also would have preferred to have received some work on the legs, but again 60 minutes sometimes isn't enough time I guess. Other members of group liked there experience more and described there massages very positively. The offer to return gratis by the owners in their comments below is a nice sentiment and a testament to how they care for their business. (Unfortunately I was visiting from out of town so cannot do so but again appreciate it)
Dr. Stephen Becker
Dr. Stephen Becker
11:47 25 Oct 22
Donna May rocked my world - the best massage I've gotten in salt lake so far and I've tried a few different spas at this point. The level of pressure, the intuition, the obvious mastery of her craft - cannot recommend her enough. She is a neck wizard.
Natalia Baykova
Natalia Baykova
13:41 26 Sep 22
Best Massage I have ever had. Donna May provided a relaxing and therapeutic massage. She always had the perfect amount of pressure and seemed to tailor the massage just to me. I will book with Donna May as often as I can. She is also such a kind person.
Kendrick Woolstenhulme
Kendrick Woolstenhulme
00:34 26 Sep 22
Well worth it!My wife and I were needing time to unwind and relax, I bought the Emerald Package, it was well worth the money! The amount of time and detail the staff took us was amazing. We left feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the world again. We are going to be coming back. The spa downstairs was amazing, what a way to finish off the night after a massage. Thank you for making our night!
Christopher Canto
Christopher Canto
15:57 22 Jul 22
There are so many good things to say about this place. The biggest shout out to Donna May who gave me the best deep tissue massage I’ve ever had in my life. Repeat: the BEST deep tissue massage I’ve ever had IN MY LIFE. The price was $95 for an hour.Other pros: they got me in on a Sunday.The facility is very clean.They have optional spa upgrades (see photos).Cons: They have this required form where you have to fill out medical information. I don’t like providing my medical information and it wasn’t necessary for this type of appointment.The booking process could be simpler but it’s not a make or break.Overall, I had a nice time and look forward to booking with Donna May in the future.
Quaceé Dorby
Quaceé Dorby
08:20 19 Jul 22
Donna, Jackie and Juiletta were amazing!!! Loved all of it worth every penny!!!!
Nique Mower
Nique Mower
23:31 16 Jul 22
Able to get appointments quickly, wonderful massages and the whole hydrotherapy downstairs was amazing
Christina R.
Christina R.
20:34 03 Jul 22
I want to say thank my Matrix Team family is running the business and thank you to all our customers that trust our services !!
Julieta Hernandez
Julieta Hernandez
19:46 29 Jun 22
My mom and I did the mother and daughter package and overall it was a really awesome experience! The place was under construction but they were able to accommodate our needs, the only downside is I never even knew our massage therapists names and I am kinda bummed about not being able to utilize the hot tub or sauna but I guess that means I’ll just have to come back another time! (:
Kamerra H
Kamerra H
15:48 23 May 22
I had the best deep tissue massage of my life there, Richard is the best therapist! I highly recommend him for sore muscles and back problems.
Viktoriya Semeykina
Viktoriya Semeykina
03:08 30 Apr 22
I love this place, I recommend this place to everyone
masterartist04
masterartist04
00:14 29 Apr 22
Excellent massage for myself and my husband. It was my first massage and it was a pleasant experience
S Havens
S Havens
20:58 24 Apr 22
Richard gave an amazing massage!
Mandy Britt
Mandy Britt
03:15 02 Apr 22
Here at Matrix massage, Rachel was extremely skilled and attentive to my lower back issues. Fantastic massage, just the right pressure and incredible...
Richard S.
Richard S.
14:55 14 Feb 22
I have been here 3 times now and have done packages and massages. Always a good experience.
Emma Slikker
Emma Slikker
14:22 01 Feb 22
A delicious sanctuary. I felt the worries of the week being worked out of my body. Richard was my “ Sensei” masseuse educating me on muscle connections and guidance on how to release tension. This is now my spiritual hideaway once a month.
Dolores Medina
Dolores Medina
19:38 12 Dec 21
A little pricey, but always a great job. Definitely worth it.
Janet Cook
Janet Cook
16:52 09 Nov 21
FrIendly staff, great massage
Mouse kowitts
Mouse kowitts
03:40 04 Oct 21
Had a massage with Donna the other day. I learned a lot, mainly that I should do it mote often. Donna took me on an excellent journey to the land of Awesomesauce.
John S
John S
00:29 06 Sep 21
I just had the best massage I've ever had from Rachel K. She really helped fix a lot of the abuse I've done to my body through a heavily active lifestyle. Thank you!!
Seth Walsh
Seth Walsh
23:48 03 Sep 21
Amazing therapists. I love their hydro circuit. sauna has helped my pain in so many ways. If you're going to come here and get a massage definitely book a...
Donna May L.
Donna May L.
14:40 03 Sep 21
My first time visiting Matrix and I somehow booked the wrong service, but I'm not even mad about it! (I booked Thai massage online but when I got there,...
Kelly C.
Kelly C.
15:58 07 Aug 21
Excellent care and customer service. Donna May and Rachel were awesome! Highly recommend.
Mike Black
Mike Black
01:31 26 Jul 21
Had my first massage here yesterday and was super impressed overall. I booked in with Donna, she did a great job and really worked into my problem areas. She was professional and friendly. Have already booked in for a follow up session.
Emma vB
Emma vB
16:51 08 Jul 21
My husband and I have been going here for 7 years now. We have never once been disappointed. They have an amazing environment, fantastic prices and every therapist we have had has been stellar. 10/10 recommend every time! We had a massage yesterday with Donna May and Rachel K. They both were phenomenal and very professional. We love it here!!!
Sara Stevenson
Sara Stevenson
16:02 21 Jun 21
Richard is the Bomb.com...and I will be back for their great massage and service!
Livia Gooden
Livia Gooden
00:07 15 Jun 21
This was my first visit to Matrix. And I can't wait to go back! I've already scheduled my next massage.The pricing is excellent. You totally okay for their quality and expertise, without paying any markups I've seen at other places. What I received was worth every penny and more.Atmosphere is amazing. I felt welcomed and at ease. It was peaceful and serene. Everything was so nice and clean, and the Covid distancing was easy and encouraged. I got a couple's massage with my partner. The room was nice and big, and the tables were wider than I'm used to at other places.Both therapists were very professional. They listened to my wants and needs. Their instructions were simple and given in a friendly, adult manner. All the things I asked for were given in spades. This is the first time in my whole life a therapist actually respected my wish for soft pressure on my lower back and hips. I can't believe it still. All my covered areas were respected. Rolling over was easy and done with privacy.It feels GREAT. Best massage ever, no doubts. I left feeling so much more relaxed and loose than when I came in. I used to get 3-5 massages a year. But then Covid happened, so I haven't had a massage in over a year. The tightness and knots were no joke. But my therapist worked them out and loosened me up like it was nothing. Like I said, my request for different pressures in different places was honored.I couldn't have had a better experience, there's just no way. Five stars? 100 stars!
Ashley Berger
Ashley Berger
17:10 04 May 21
Great hands😍👌👌👌
Manuel Medrano
Manuel Medrano
20:04 21 Apr 21
This spa was amazing! A group of us went there this past Friday for a Bachelorette Party! This is the only spa in SLC that has any packages or deals for a...
Brynn P.
Brynn P.
11:09 13 Aug 18