Knee Cap Pain with Running: Better Treated with Hip Exercises

knee cap pain with running

Your body is a connected machine, yet today’s orthopedic care system is dedicated to breaking it up into it’s component parts. Take for example knee cap pain with running. The focus for treatment is typically on the knee, now more research shows it should be on the low back and hip.

Orthopedic physicians and physical therapists have a disease-they love to focus only where it hurts. For knee cap pain with running, this means attention is paid to the patellofemoral area, where the patella (knee cap) sits in it’s groove (femur). Pain here in the kneecap when running, for the orthopedic minded, is a problem with how the big thigh (quadriceps) muscle impacts the knee cap. However, what if that was wrong?

First, to review how everything from your hip to your foot can impact your knee cap, check out the comprehensive infographic I put together. Second, studies on how the hip and core (low back) impact the knee cap is beginning to come of age. For example, recent research has shown that your butt muscles may be critical in protecting your knee cap when running.

The new study looked at two different exercise protocols to help patellofemoral pain-one that focused on the knee and quadriceps and the other on the hip and core. This was a randomized controlled trial, so patients were assigned to either group. In the end, exercises on the hip and core more efficiently improved knee cap pain than the knee exercises. While the latter eventually worked, the fact that working on the hip helped the knee, should help begin to cure the “disease” that inflicts modern orthopedics.

The upshot? The knee is only a joint in a machine that’s connected, head to toe. Considering it in isolation is a fool’s game-yet it’s what we’ve all been taught. So the next time your knee hurts, take a look at your hip and core!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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