Knee Pain without Injury or Swelling (My Experience)

This is a first-hand description of an athlete that experienced knee pain during running.

runners knee

What do you think caused the knee pain without injury?

I was going on a mid-distance run when my knee started to hurt. I was pressed for time and didn’t do my normal stretch routine beforehand, but opted for a slower jog to ease into it.

I’m not sure if the pain in my knee joint was stemming from the repeated impact of landing on the ground or if my foot landed awkwardly on an uneven surface.

Another possibility is that my joints weren’t sufficiently warmed up and ready for the intensity of high-impact running.

What did it feel like?

In the middle of my run, I started to notice a sharp, stabbing pain under the kneecap of the inner knee.

I had normal range of motion and flexibility, but I felt a sting of pain every time my foot landed on the ground.

I also looked at my knee closely and there wasn’t any visible discoloration, swelling or inflammation around my knee joint.

What did you do immediately after feeling the knee pain?

After I started feeling the knee pain, I immediately stopped running to check on my knee. I didn’t see any obvious signs of injury, but I knew that something was wrong.

I stopped running and walked the rest of the way back. When I got home, I rested with my feet up, put ice on my knee, and started taking over-the-counter medication (Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen) to alleviate my pain and prevent potential inflammation.

How did you ultimately treat the knee pain?

I continued this same treatment for the next few days. I followed the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation– and stayed on top of my pain medication.

I continued with my normal (weight-bearing) activities, but tried to limit additional physical activity and exercise. Ultimately, I took a break from high-impact exercise (ie. running and jump roping) until I thought my injury was healed, which was roughly two weeks.

Did it help?

My treatment worked well. Since I didn’t develop any redness, inflammation, or bony protrusions on my knee, I know I probably didn’t aggravate or worsen my knee injury.

Also, the pain I experienced during my normal daily activity gradually decreased over the course of a few days and I was moving normally within a week.

How did it feel after 1 week, 2 weeks?

After around one week, I was able to move around as usual, pain-free.

I was still worried that my knee pain would flare up again with high-impact activity, so I stayed away from running and jump roping until after the end of the second week. By then, my knee felt completely normal.

What was a waste of time and money?

In my experience, an injured knee will generally improve with a few simple treatment methods. Rest, ice, compression, elevation, and pain medication can go a long way.

Unless recommended by your doctor, I think that joint and mobility health supplements, hyaluronic acid injections, and acupuncture are a waste of time and money.

A mild injury should resolve itself with time and rest, and a serious injury would probably require more aggressive treatment than those three alternatives anyways.

How long did it take for you to be back to 100%?

It took me around two weeks to be completely healed. After one week, I could use my knee in everyday activity, but I still found exercise to be a little bothersome.

By the end of two weeks, I could go on my runs again without the pain. I was worried about reinjury for the next several weeks, but I was ultimately okay. 

Did you need to see a doctor? 

After seeing substantial improvement after a few days of my at-home treatment, I didn’t think it was necessary to see a doctor.

This turned out to be the right decision, as they likely would’ve attributed my pain to a mild overuse or overload of the knee and probably would’ve recommended a treatment very similar to the one I performed.

If someone had knee pain like yours, when should they be concerned and see a doctor?

If someone was experiencing knee pain similar to mine, I wouldn’t immediately be concerned. Again, the best way to accelerate the healing process is to rest, ice, compress, and elevate the knee.

However, people should be concerned if their knee pain shows no improvement with these conservative measures or if the pain is affecting their ability to do everyday activity.

Alternatively, if their knee doesn’t hurt during everyday activity but is still painful during high-impact exercise, they should probably see a doctor to make sure the injury isn’t chronic and doesn’t require orthotic or immobilization devices (ie. wraps, and braces).

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