One of the best ways to prevent runner's knee is to avoid overuse, aka running too much. "You shouldn't increase your mileage more than 10 percent per week," Dr. Pandya told us. A similar rule of thumb applies to increasing speed or hill training. "You shouldn't introduce more than one or two new kind of workouts or types of training per week," Dr. Pandya said.
He also recommended doing at least two-to-three core and glute workouts per week to work on strengthening those key muscles. That can help to take the strain off of your knees and relieve some of the pain. If you need a place to start, we recommend this three-minute plank workout for runners and these simple glute activation exercises.
Finally, there's the stretching and flexibility aspect. If you're going to pick one area to stretch out, Dr. Pandya said, it should be your IT band. Loosening up that area on a regular basis, and especially before and after a run, can help prevent IT band tendinitis, a leading cause of runner's knee. Try these 13 IT band exercises to stretch and strengthen the area, and make sure to incorporate a foam roller to dig into the focal points of tension. Dr. Pandya also recommended stretching out your hamstrings, another neglected area for runners, most of whom tend to be quad-dominant.
There's a lot going on with runner's knee, but it all boils down to fairly simple prevention and treatment techniques. Dr. Pandya summed it up for us: "If runners don't overtrain, and then spend five to 10 minutes a couple times a week working on their core and on flexibility, that'll go a long way in terms of preventing runner's knee from happening."