Does your knee hurt after a run or other workout? It’s not always runner’s knee; you may be suffering from jumper’s knee or pes anserine bursitis. Here you will find an overview of the three most common knee problems and what you can do about them.
Step #1: Where Does It Hurt?
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS):
If it hurts on the outside of the knee and extends toward the hip, it is iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), often just called IT band syndrome, or sometimes runner’s knee.
Isolated pain in the front of the knee on the lower pole of the patella is also called “patellar tendinopathy”, or “patellar tendonitis” (jumper’s knee).
Pes anserine bursitis:
If pain develops on the inner side of the shinbone directly below the knee joint, it is most likely pes anserine bursitis, also called “pes anserinus syndrome”, “inner knee pain”, or “medial knee pain“.
Step #2: Which Sport Do You Do?
In order to diagnose which knee problem you suffer from, it is important to look at how you work out. All three knee problems can, indeed, develop in any sport. However, the jumper’s knee – as the name suggests – is more common among athletes who do sports involving jumping (e.g. volleyball) or stop-and-go movements (e.g. tennis, soccer). Runner’s knee and pes anserine bursitis, on the other hand, usually appear in runners.
Step #3: Is Your Knee Tender to the Touch?
Tenderness is present in all three conditions:
With the IT band syndrome (also runner’s knee), the tenderness is on the outer side of the knee joint.With the jumper’s knee, the tenderness can be felt in one spot directly on the patellar pole.With pes anserine bursitis (also pes anserinus syndrome, inner knee pain, or medial knee pain) there is tenderness below the inner side of the knee joint.
Step #4: What Can I Do About the Pain in My Knee?
Treatment is necessary for all three conditions: ice and rest your knee! Avoid jumping or impact activities.
Foam rolling exercises and stretching can help. If you suffer from Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), jumper’s knee, or pes anserine bursitis, you can find helpful exercises and tips in the respective blog posts:
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) (often just called “IT band syndrome,” or sometimes known as “runner’s knee”)Jumper’s knee (also known as “patellar tendinopathy”, or “patellar tendonitis”)Pes anserine bursitis (also known as “pes anserinus syndrome,” “inner knee pain,” or “medial knee pain”)
In a nutshell, these three knee problems can usually be distinguished by the location of the pain. The type of sport you do can also provide helpful information.
If the condition does not improve after treating it at home, you should definitely consult a medical professional for a clear diagnosis and additional treatment advice.