Why is there knee clicking while running?

If there is knee clicking while running, it indicates several conditions such as meniscal injury, iliotibial band syndrome or plica syndrome. The conditions that can cause knee clicking are often easy to manage but the individual should stop or minimize the intensity of running during the process.

It is vital to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the knee clicking as well as start the appropriate treatment. In most cases, the treatment usually involves stretching and strengthening routines to help prevent issues in the future. To recognize and manage the  symptoms of knee injuries, sign up for first aid classes in Vancouver today.

Knee clicking

The other symptoms that can occur with IT band syndrome include pain throughout the exterior side of the knee which can ache or feel like a burning sensation.

Meniscal injury

The knee clicking while running might be caused by a meniscal injury. It is important to note that the menisci can be damaged while rotating the knee during weight bearing. In case the injury is minor, the meniscus will remain connected to the front and rear of the knee. The individual is likely to feel pain once the knee is straightened out.

There is also the possibility for a previous injury to become sore months or years after, particularly if the individual injured the knee for the second time. Nevertheless, it is quite common for the symptoms to recur or even persist, thus requiring treatment. In most cases, physical therapy is required even for minor meniscal injuries. In severe cases, the doctor will recommend surgery.

IT band syndrome

This is considered as one of the most prevalent overuse injury among runners. The iliotibial band or IT band traverses from the hip up to below the knee. Since it intersects the knee joint, it can squeeze and break across the knee as the individual runs which is why there is clicking sound.

The other symptoms that can occur with IT band syndrome include pain throughout the exterior side of the knee which can ache or feel like a burning sensation. Take note that the pain can radiate to the side of the thigh. Strengthening and stretching are the commonly used in treating this condition.

Plica syndrome

Plica syndrome can also cause knee clicking while running. This condition typically occurs once the bands of synovial tissue or plicae are irritated either due to overuse or injury.

The other symptoms that can occur include swelling, pain, knee locking and weakness. The treatment for this condition includes anti-inflammatory drugs, reducing the level of activity, application of an ice pack followed by strengthening exercises. The doctor can also recommend an injection of cortisone or surgery in order to remove the plicae.


It is important to note both plica syndrome and IT band syndrome can be prevented. The individual is at risk for these overuse injuries when abruptly increasing the duration or intensity of running or including the climbing of hills suddenly into the routine.

The risk is also heightened if worn-out or poor quality shoe are used. It is recommended to opt for running shoes that provide shock absorption and structure. Individuals who have flat feet might require shoe inserts. It is also best to choose shoes or inserts that are specifically designed to compensate of the foot movement if the individual rolls the foot inward or outward too much while running.

Lack of proper warm up and poor stretching right after a run are also risk factors to consider. Always remember that maintaining a healthy weight can also help since obesity is also a risk factor for overuse injuries to the knee. Additionally, running on smooth, even surfaces can minimize the risk especially for meniscal injury.