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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Runner's knee? How different activities load the knee

🤕Runner's knee? How different activities load the knee🦵

Those suffering from Runner's knee or patellofemoral pain often experience pain in day-to-day activities & other exercises.

🔎So here's a list of different exercises & movements ranked from lowest to highest patellofemoral joint compressive forces:

  • Walking: 0.9 x body weight (BW) (Hart 2022)

  • Squat bodyweight: 2.45 X BW (Wallace 2002)

  • Stair descent: 2.8 x BW (Hart 2022)

  • Stair ascent: 3.2 x BW (Hart 2022)

  • Squat +35% bodyweight: 3.5 x BW (Wallace 2002)

  • Single leg squat: 4.17 x BW (Escamilla 2009)

  • Countermovement jump: 4.2 x BW (Cleather 2013)

  • Lunge backward: 4.26 x BW (Goulette 2021)

  • Lunge forward: 5.03 x BW (Goulette 2021)

  • Running: 5.2 x BW. (Hart 2022)

  • Wall squat double leg: 5.51 x BW (Escamilla 2009)

  • Squat barbell 12RM: 6.58 x BW (Escamilla 1998)

  • Hopping: 8.5 x BW (Ristow 2020)

🎯How can this be used?

Those with Runner's knee/patellofemoral pain can use this to determine progressions of exercise, gradually making your way from least to most compressive forces.

This progression can also be used to determine readiness to return to running. For instance, if unable to perform a single leg squat or a lunge without significant pain, then you may not be ready to run!🏃‍♀️

👋Runners if you need help with your knee pain, don't hesitate to contact us!


  • Cleather, D. J., et al. (2013). "Hip and knee joint loading during vertical jumping and push jerking." Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 28(1): 98-103.

  • Escamilla, R. F., et al. (1998). "Biomechanics of the knee during closed kinetic chain and open kinetic chain exercises." Med Sci Sports Exerc 30(4): 556-569.

  • Escamilla, R., et al. (2022). "Patellofemoral Joint Loading During the Performance of the Forward and Side Lunge with Step Height Variations." Int J Sports Phys Ther 17(2): 174-184.

  • Goulette, D., et al. (2021). "Patellofemoral joint loading during the forward and backward lunge." Physical Therapy in Sport 47: 178-184.

  • Hart, H. F., et al. (2022). "May the force be with you: understanding how patellofemoral joint reaction force compares across different activities and physical interventions—a systematic review and meta-analysis." British Journal of Sports Medicine 56(9): 521-530.

  • Hofmann, C. L., et al. (2017). "Trunk and Shank Position Influences Patellofemoral Joint Stress in the Lead and Trail Limbs During the Forward Lunge Exercise." Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 47(1): 31-40.

  • Powers, C. M., et al. (2014). "Patellofemoral Joint Stress During Weight-Bearing and Non—Weight-Bearing Quadriceps Exercises." Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 44(5): 320-327.

  • Ristow, A., et al. (2020). "Patellofemoral Joint Loading During Single-Leg Hopping Exercises." J Sport Rehabil 29(8): 1131-1136.

  • Wallace, D. A., et al. (2002). "Patellofemoral joint kinetics while squatting with and without an external load." J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 32(4): 141-148.

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