Running is a high level activity that places a significant load on your joints. Added to the stress placed on the joints is the wear and tear of daily life…which most of us get and is just a byproduct of being alive long enough.
A common injury and problem a lot of runners experience is inside knee pain after running. During running, the knees play a very important role in shock absorption while controlling shear and rotational forces.
However, even the safest runner can have painful knees.
Inside knee pain with running is a common inner knee injury which can involve various structures around and within the knee. Often Runner’s knee pain or Patellofemoral pain syndrome is accompanied with pain on inside of knee.
Common structures causing pain on inside of knee
1. Medial Meniscus: is a large C-shaped cartilage that sit on the top of the tibia (lower leg). It helps with shock absorption, provides joint stability, force transmission, and lubrication. Medial meniscus is more commonly injured than the lateral meniscus.
Common symptoms of medial meniscus injury are swelling, stiffness, ache, catching, locking, popping, instability and feeling “wobbly”.
2. Medial Collateral Ligament: this is one of the 4 major ligaments of the knee joint and it sits on the inside of the knee joint. It provides support and stability to the inside of the knee joint. It is also one of the knee ligaments that’s more commonly injured.
Common symptoms of medial collateral ligament can be stiffness, tenderness to touch, swelling, thickening and sharp pain.
3. Knee arthritis or arthroses (degeneration or wear and tear of the joint cartilage) can also cause pain on inside of knee.
Common symptoms of knee arthritis or arthroses can be stiffness, swelling, deep ache, soreness and tender to touch along the inside border of the knee.
4. Pes Anserine Bursitis: Inflammation and irritation of the Pes Anserine bursa can often cause inner knee pain. The bursa is a small lubricating sac that sits between the tibia (shinbone) and tendons of three muscles: sartorius, gracilis and semitendinosus.
Common symptoms of Pes Anserine Bursitis can be stiffness, swelling, heat, sharp pains, hot to touch, tenderness and stinging.
5. Pes Anserine Tendonitis: Pes Anserine tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the three tendons (sartorius, gracilis and semitendinosus) that make up the Pes Anserine.
Common symptoms of Pes Anserine Tendonitis can be sharp pain, sensitivity to touch, swelling, thickening and hot to touch.
What are the causes of medial knee pain?
1. Overuse or repetitive trauma to the medial meniscus, medial collateral ligament, Pes Anserine tendon or bursa.
2. Flat feet or excessive foot pronation can cause the knee to drift inwards resulting in stress on the inside of the knee.
3. Tight hip capsule resulting in more hip internal rotation can cause more stress and inner knee pain.
4. Increased Q angle: especially common in women this is the angle created between the pelvis and hip. Wide hips can cause an increased Q angle resulting in “knocked knees”…which often puts more stress and pain on inside of knee.
5. Weak hip muscles: gluteus medius and gluteus maximus weakness can cause poor stability at the pelvis, hip and down the chain. If the base or center isn’t strong the extensions will have more problems.
6. Leg length differences can cause more stress on one leg – it could be either leg that can have pain on inside knee.
7. Poor pelvic alignment: due to instability or muscle imbalances can also cause increased stress down the chain resulting in inner knee pain.
8. Scoliosis of the spine can cause poor alignment down the chain leading to increased stress along the spine, pelvis and down the leg.
9. Muscle imbalances: tight, weak or over stretched can cause alignment issues and pain.
So for treating pain on the inside of the knee always address problems above and below the joint too. In addition to treating the injured tissue it’s very important to treat the cause of the problem.
Unless you correct the underlying problem, running can continue to cause inside knee pain.
For faster recovery after knee injuries get access to our Build Better Knees Recovery Kit.
Check out video below on inside knee pain with running.
This is a common problem that affects a lot of runners and can present as part of Runner’s knee pain. What are the sign and symptoms of running with inside knee pain, common presentations and causes of inside knee pain.
For runners this is a great video to learn about inside knee pain, since this is a common problem which affects a lot of runners.