Knee pain after jogging: these exercises help

Frau macht eine Jogging Pause und hält sich das Knie.

A typical scenario: you have no knee issues in general, but sudden knee pain when jogging, especially when running down­hill. We explain why and show what helps.

Knee pain after jogging

You suddenly feel a burn in your knee while running downhill, or a misstep ends your running season. Frequently, the reason is a «functional leg axis instability». What does this mean? Nothing's broken, the problem is the function. The legs – especially the knees – can't be sufficiently stabilised by the muscles. In other words, the cause isn't a serious injury but rather insufficient strength and over-mobile joints, both of which often lead to pain in the knees and feet.

Why are knees affected so often?

The knee is, so to speak, in the crossfire between the foot and hip joint. Due to incorrect weight distribution on the feet or a lack of strength in the hip muscles, the knee is repeatedly twisted inwards or outwards when jogging, which subjects the ligaments and tendons to constant stress.

Causes of knee pain after jogging

Head physician Dr. med. Christian Larsen explains that knee pain and foot pain are the most frequent sources of pain experienced after jogging. In the case of younger runners, this is often due to over-exertion of the ligaments and tendons. The running expert presents his favourite exercise: the mirror knee.

Running expert Dr. med. Larsen explains

Dr. med. Larsen explains why the knee is so vulnerable and demonstrates his favourite exercise (in german).

When it gets chronic: runner’s knee

The typical «runner's knee» arises when the knee constantly turns inwards. What happens? The iliotibial band, which runs down the side of the thigh from the hip, is irritated by the inward-rotating movement of the knee. Runners then mostly feel this as pain on the outer side of the knee.

What helps relieve the pain?

In the case of a runner's knee, fascia rolling and massages can provide short-term relief: they ease the pain in the hip and knee. However, to remedy the problem, there is – as with other knee issues – no other option but to address the cause: only those runners who recognise and correct knee malpositions and improper load distribution can avoid pain in the long term.

Mirror knee exercise explained step by step

To prevent your knees from turning inwards or outwards when jogging, practise the mirror knee exercise. With his favourite exercise, Dr Larsen shows runners whether their leg axis is correctly aligned and how to train it.

Mirror knee exercise video

Dr Christian Larsen explains how to recognise whether your leg axis is correctly aligned and the right way to train it (in german).

Protect knees with the right training

Runners who work preventively on strengthening and stabilising their knees sustain substantially fewer knee injuries. A physiotherapist demonstrates the 6 most important exercises for healthy knees.

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