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Runner’s Knee

Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.

As a broad term for knee pain experienced by runners, runner’s knee can be the result of a number of sports injuries or orthopedic conditions. Depending on where the individual is experiencing their pain, runner’s knee is first classified as anterior or lateral.

Anterior knee pain is felt in the front part of the knee and correlates with several injuries such as patellofemoral joint pain syndrome, chondromalacia patella, patella tendonitis, knee bursitis and fat pad syndrome. Specifically, these conditions of the knee stem from misalignment of the kneecap, excessive pressure on the knee joint, inflammation, overuse of the knee joint or disruption behind the kneecap from the force of an impact or fall. On the other hand, lateral knee pain is experienced on the outside of the knee. This pain is presumed to be a result of iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, as ITB syndrome accounts for nearly 22% of overuse injuries for runners.

Treatment and Rehabilitation for Runner’s Knee

Whether individuals are training to run or running to train, the implications of overuse are the same, and early treatment is likely to require rest. Even so, physiatrists take a multidisciplinary approach that awards them the advantage of designing selective rehabilitation that relieves pain and restores and maximizes function. This also equips the body for injury prevention.

In addition to rest, initial treatment may consist of ice or heat therapy, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, TENS machine, steroid injections and supportive bracing and taping.  While these modalities provide comfort for pain and swelling, they also relay pertinent diagnostic information to physiatrists as they continue to individualize treatment.

Once pain and inflammation are managed, physical therapy becomes a vital component of rehabilitation for runner’s knee. Specific therapies include:

  • Core exercises
  • Closed kinetic chain exercises
  • Foot posture correction
  • Gait analysis
  • Running analysis
  • Body mechanics training
  • Balance enhancement
  • Sports-specific conditioning
  • Strength training
  • Stretching and flexibility

Physiatrists realize the connection among body systems, and this is not overlooked during treatment. Thus, as the physical body is being conditioned, physiatrists also analyze neural tension and the role that it plays in a patient’s pain. In addition, physiatrists remain sensitive to psychological components. They are able to steer patients in the right direction to better their mental health as well.

At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.

To schedule your appointment, please contact our office today.


Rehabilitation Institute

111 Dean Drive Suite 1
Tenafly, NJ, 07670
Fax: (201) 871-2214

Call Us: (201) 390-9200