Category Archives: Sciatica

Pain behind the knee when running – overview of problem, diagnosis and treatment.

Problem: Acute stabbing pain behind the knee when running, accompanied by a seize up of the surrounding knee area leaving me unable to run or bend the knee more than 90 degrees. Onset usually at 45-60 minutes into a run.

If possible I try to anticipate the pain about to start. I stop running, stretch my hamstrings/calves (which seems to help), walk for 2-5 minutes (walking is pain free) and gradually start to run slowly again. The pain either completely dissipates and does not re-occur for the rest of the run, lingers for the rest of the run, or continues to hurt and I have to walk home. 9 times out of 10 the pain disappears completely and I am able to continue the run.

This knee pain started in 2009, with my first visit to John in March 2010. I had previously guessed it was caused by one of the following: tight hamstrings, tight calves, tendon damage, or knee joint problems. 

In the time that I have suffered from the knee pain I have trained for and completed 3 long distance triathlons and a 50 mile ultra run.

After only 10 or 20 minutes of initial assessment John diagnosed my knee pain as neurological. My ‘good’ leg demonstrated far more movement, stability and strength than my ‘bad’ leg, the main cause being my sciatic nerve being ‘caught up’ somewhere between my spine and my foot, restricting movement and causing pain at the knee. John suggested that my poor seating posture at work could be responsible.

Following manipulation of my spine (crack!) full movement was restored to my ‘bad’ leg. 

John also gave me a variety of Pilates based exercises to do at home. When I do my exercises running is usually pain free, and now I am usually careful to sit properly at work. More recently whilst training for a 100 mile ultra run I have not been doing the exercises and the pain has returned.