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Runner's Knee Symptoms & Diagnosis


The first symptom is pain around or under the kneecap. The pain may first occur during high-impact activities. This includes playing sports or going down stairs. As the condition gets worse, the pain may be triggered by long periods of sitting. This is sometimes called movie-goer’s sign. It is thought to be caused by the pressure on the kneecap while the leg is flexed. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the knee
  • Popping or grinding sounds in the knee joint during activity
  • A snapping sensation in the knee

These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.


Your doctor will first ask about your symptoms. A medical history will also be taken. To rule out other disorders, your doctor may want you to have the following tests:

  • X-ray of the knee joint
  • CT or MRI scan of the knee joint

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist. Orthopedic surgeons focus on bone and joint disorders.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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