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Runner's Knee Pain Relief: Most Commonly Recommended Medications And Treatments

Updated on April 22, 2013
Runner's Knee
Runner's Knee

Knee pain can be aggravating, uncomfortable and if bad enough downright scary. I experienced horrible knee pain shortly after I started running.

I took up the sport of running and did everything you’re not supposed to do when I started. I ran in cheap shoes, I ran on hard pavement and I ran too much. All of these things gave me a terrible case of what is known as runner’s knee.

Runner’s knee is pain around kneecap.

My case of runner’s knee was so bad that even walking was painful and walking down stairs was absolutely excruciating. Once I had runner’s knee running was impossible.

While sitting my knee became stiff and sore and made clicking sounds when I walked. My knee hurt so bad it would keep me awake at night.

Although runner’s knee is painful it typically is not permanent and can be treated and cured in most cases without the need for surgery.

Treatment For Runner's Knee

There is no mystery here, the best treatment is ibuprofen or aspirin.

Good old aspirin effectively dulls the pain and reduces the inflammation in your knees. If you have a sensitive stomach, make sure to take aspirin with food. Take as needed every 4-6 hours and the pain should be reduced to a bearable level so you may go about your day.

It’s still going to hurt when you go down stairs but you should be able to sit comfortably and sleep well just by taking ibuprofen for your case of runner's knee.

Icing is also very helpful for runner’s knee. Apply ice to the affected knee two to three times per day for 20 minutes each time. This will help reduce the inflammation and the pain.

Using ibuprofen or aspiring along with icing your injured knee will work for the majority of those suffering from runner’s knee.

If the pain is serious enough however then more drastic measures may need to be taken.

Cortisone Shots

Your doctor may recommend Cortisone shots which are steroids injected directly into the affected knee.

A Cortisone shot will provide instant relief that may last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. However, cortisone shots are not a long term or realistic remedy as they can actually harm the knee more by harming the cartilage with prolonged use.

If cortisone shots are required more than a few times to alleviate the knee pain your doctor may recommend knee surgery to repair the knee.

For most suffering from knee pain simply taking some aspirin and resting the knee along with applying ice will be enough to allow the knee to repair itself.

If after several weeks the knee has not improved taking these precautions then it is time to see a doctor to further evaluate what is wrong with the knee and determine the next best course of action.

Hopefully with some rest and aspirin you will not need to see the doctor and the knee will get back to its normal self within a week or two.


To prevent runner’s knee from coming back again consider going to a running store and being properly fitted with a new pair of shoes.

Also build up your mileage slowly, don’t suddenly go from running 10 miles per week to 40 miles per week or your knee will surely revolt.

A common rule of thumb is not to increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. For example, if you are currently running 20 miles per week and want to increase your mileage only run up to 22 miles the following week. This will allow your body to properly adjust to the higher mileage.

Also try to run on more forgiving surfaces if possible such as trails or treadmills as opposed to streets and sidewalks which are harder on your knees.

Runner’s knee is painful and inconvenient but will usually resolve itself with some rest, icing and aspirin within a week or two.


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    • shuck72 profile image

      shuck72 5 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks Eric for the comment. Try applying ice as well, personally I found that to be quite helpful.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      I'm suffering from knee pain that came from bike riding, but I assume it is probably the same or similar to runner's knee. Thank you for the advice. I will start using some anti-inflamitories for a few weeks to see if that helps. If it doesn't, then I guess I will have to see a doctor. Thanks again!