RunnerRepair Shop

 Call for a free injury screen. 


Osteoarthritis (OA) Of The Knee Joint

Contrary to popular (non-runner) belief, runners do not get arthritis any more frequently than non-runners.  But arthritis is a fact of life.  We all get some arthritis as we age.  How we deal with it is our choice.

History:  The runner is usually over 40 years old.  They will usually have increased pain and stiffness when they wake in the morning which decreases within 30-60 minutes after getting out of bed.  They will have increased pain with any weightbearing activity.  The pain will decrease with sitting.  You may have a sensation of grinding with knee movement.  You may have some previous injury when you were younger, but not recent injuries.  You can have OA in one knee or both knees.

Self-Examination: Here are some indications your knee pain is because of osteoarthritis of the knee:

  1. You may actually hear your knees grind when going downstairs or when you complete mini squats. 
  2. Your knees are stiff and sore when you first get up in the morning and get better within 30-60 minutes after you start walking around.
  3. Your pain increases the deeper you squat.  Pain may increase as you stand up from the mini squats.    
  4. You probably have decreased motion into knee flexion and/or extension.  
  5. Osteoarthritis is almost accompanied by decreased knee strength.  
  6. If you sit and gently place your hand on your knee, you can feel the grinding as you extend and flex your knee. (We can hear it crunch ☹.)  





Restore full motion to the knees:

You will not be at this level very long; we just need to increase your strength while minimizing stress on your knee.


Correct running mechanics
  • Gradually return to your previous running. 

  • Start on relatively flat ground or even on a treadmill.  The best part of returning to running with a treadmill is that you can actually hear your footsteps.  Also, a lot of treadmills are in front of a mirror so you can see your hands move and your feet move. 

  • If your arms or legs swing weird, you may want to have a physical therapist complete an evaluation before you return to full running.  Listen and ‘feel’ how you run. 

  • Is one leg hitting the ground harder than the other?  Does one arm swing differently than the other? 

  • Until you can run without pain and with fairly symmetrical running mechanics, you are still at risk of reproducing your old injury or creating a whole new injury to another part of your body.

  • As soon as you can run without pain and without a limp you can return to your normal running routine.

Return to running speedwork and hills. 

After you have been able to run on flat ground for a week with your with your normal training and have not had any pain, you can begin to add speed and hill training to your program.

My favorite step, get back to full running! 

Have fun.  Eventually you will bust something else and be back to the website to fix that.  



NOTE ON TREATMENT FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE:  Treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee depends on the state of the degeneration.   OA is a progressive disease and gradually worsens with age.  YOU can control this process with correct exercise intervention and weight management.  Intervention for knee OA may include treatment from a medical doctor including the use of steroids, PRP injections and other treatment options.


If you follow the steps on the website for 2-6 weeks (depending on how badly you hurt yourself the first time and on how long you tried to ‘run through the pain’) and your problem does not resolve, then call our clinic for an appointment and we can do something Dr. Google cannot do.  We can complete a hands-on evaluation, in-person evaluation to determine the cause of your pain.


 Call for a free injury screen.