How to Return to Running After a Knee Injury

by Tricia Ross

About Tricia Ross

Tricia Ross is a full-time journalist who studied English at the University of California-Los Angeles. She has run a marathon and three half-marathons and has training in sports massage therapy.


The knee absorbs a great deal of impact making injuries to the joint common, especially in runners. While a knee injury can be frustrating, it may not necessarily end your ability to run. Once your doctor gives you approval, you can begin a slow and careful routine to strengthen your knee that will get you back out on the road and tearing up the miles.

Step 1

Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee so the joint is supported. Use free weights or machines to exercise the calves, the quadriceps in the front of the thigh as well as the hamstrings in the back of the thigh.

Step 2

Adopt a regular program of stretching exercises to improve flexibility and prevent stiffness. Stretch thoroughly after each strength training session, concentrating on the calves, hamstrings and hip flexors.

Step 3

Wear the appropriate knee brace for your injury. Consult with your doctor as to what type of functional brace you need and how long you should wear it. Ideally, you will wean yourself off of the brace as your knee becomes stronger.

Step 4

Avoid running downhill or climbing stairs. These actions put extra stress on your knees. Run on flat, soft surfaces such as grass, a treadmill or a padded running track to reduce impact.

Step 5

Keep your mileage low and slowly work up to more distance. Ease into running longer distances to allow your knee to adjust to the impact. Mix periods of running with walking, and immediately stop exercising if you feel pain.

Items you will need

  • Knee brace


  • Rest is essential for your knee's recovery, so schedule your workouts for every other day.


  • Obtain your physician's approval before you begin any post-injury exercise program following.

Photo Credits:

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or