Confused about knee pain...

I am confused about diagnosis of knee pain, specifically distinguishing between Runner's Knee and ITBS.

Sorry about the long-winded nature of this, but I want to pass on as much info. towards diagnosing my condition as possible.

I am running the Dublin marathon next Monday (28/10). Training has been going well, I've never had knee probs. previously and I've successfully worn orthotics for a couple of years to correct pronation and a leg length difference.

At end of a quickish 5 miler last Weds. (no camber and a regular route of mine), I started to get a sharp pain on the outside of my right knee, which I felt as the leg bent while the foot was off the ground during the stride. When I stopped and walked the last bit, it was pretty painful. This lasted about half an hour and was then more or less okay. I have rested it until today (Monday) and have been doing ITB stretches. I went out for a very gentle 8 mile run today and felt nothing as much as a twinge.

A good sign, but obviously 26.2 miles is a different matter compared to 8.

I am getting conflicting stuff about what my condition is, which is causing me concern as I want to make sure I am treating it properly.

Some websites say runner's knee occurs on the outside of the knee, some say underneath the kneecap. ITBS seems to be on the outside of the knee, but some say ice it, some say stretch it, some say get it massaged.

To summarise all this, from the above information, can anyone tell me:

A) What was/am I suffering from?
B) What should I be doing to give myself the best chance of running injury-free next Sunday?
C) Am I wise to run at all?

I'm anxious to be in best shape I can for Sunday so any input appreciated.



  • It sounds more like ITB-related pain than runner's knee, DW, but although your description is commendably thorough it's rarely possible to be completely sure unless someone who knows what they're doing has examined your leg.

    If it only happened once and is better now, it may have been an acute but minor muscle spasm, and if you've run without any problem since then it's probably settled down on its own. I'd suggest putting it behind you, training as you would normally have done this week anyway, and take along a syringe of local anaesthetic in case it does recur in the marathon (OK, scratch the last point - but one doctor did inject his ITB so that he could complete a marathon, and lived to tell the tale in a British Journal of Sports Medicine editorial).

    Wishing you the luck of the Irish on Monday.

    Cheers, V-rap.
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