How to Fix Runner's Knee Fast (ULTIMATE GUIDE)

 By  Shane Dowd , CES, CMP

In 2018, I nearly cut my knee in half. It was the worst knee pain I'd ever felt, and I thought I’d never run again.

But, thanks to the 3 secrets I’m about to teach you, I’m running faster and farther than ever.

I added these and more secrets to The Ultimate Guide to Fix Runner’s Knee, a free companion eBook you can download on this page.

Join me as we explore these secrets, unveiling the roadmap to a swift and effective remedy for Runner’s Knee for good! 





☝️The Ultimate Guide to Fix Runner’s Knee FAST

 Although knee pain is multifactorial, as shown in the following Table of Contents, in the video above, we will only focus on the 3 most potent components of fixing knee pain:

Tissue work, Stretching, and Re-education. AKA, the TSR System for Fixing Knee Pain.


Table Of Contents

  • What is "runner's knee?
  • What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?
  • What causes runner’s knee?
  • How can you fix runner's knee? 
      • Stop the damage
      • Orthotics/taping
      • Mindfulness/awareness
      • Warmup/cooldown better
      • Improve running technique 
      • Put out the fire (inflammation)
      • Hydration, nutrition, and lifestyle 
      • Restore tissue quality (tissue work)
      • Improve range of motion (stretching)
      • Build strength & stability (re-education)
  • How long does it take to recover from runner's knee?
  • When does runner's knee require surgery?
  • How can runner’s knee be prevented? 


Why Did I Create a Guide to Fix Runner's Knee

In 2018, when I nearly severed my knee in half, it’s important to note that this injury wasn't my first encounter with knee pain.

As a runner, soccer player, Olympic weightlifter, and track & field athlete, I've suffered from:

  • Runner's Knee
  • Jumpers Knee,
  • IT Band Syndrome, and more

 ...but this injury was the worst knee pain I've ever felt. 

Fortunately, my profession is to help people fix injuries & get flexible, so I know what to do about pain! 

So, let’s dive into all the juicy details to help YOU fix YOUR knee pain NOW!


πŸ’ͺ The TSR Mobility System 

The TSR System, the quickest way to fix knee pain, stands for Tissue work, Stretching, and Re-education.

This is because many new systematic review scientific studies show that the COMBINATION of tissue work, stretching, and strengthening (the TSR approach) is more effective than any 1 of those modalities alone. 

So, let’s learn how to do step 1 for our knee pain.


πŸ‘‰ STEP 1 is to Restore Tissue Quality (Tissue Work)

Tissue Work is doing very precise, targeted massage on your muscles.

It’s like a mechanic "tuning up" the car. It helps instantly reduce knee pain and get rid of trigger points. 

If you have knee pain, one of the first places you should start is with tissue work on your quads. 

Most runners immediately think: “Oh, OK, so foam roll my quads?”

And while foam rolling is a good start, there are even more effective ways to do tissue work on the quads. 

In the video above, I explain how to do Tissue Work to release self-myofascial and be much more targeted and precise than a generic massage or foam rolling. 

I promise this “targeted tissue work” is most people's most significant missing piece of the puzzle, leaving you with almost zero areas of your body that hurt when you roll them (yes, really!) 

And that includes your quads or the dreaded ITband. 

In my 45-day “Runner’s Knee” program, we go much deeper than basic foam rolling.  I explain how, with better/more varied tools, you can access difficult-to-reach anatomical locations more easily.

For example, here are all the tools I recommend...

  • Softballs
  • Quadballer
  • Foam rollers
  • Lacrosse balls
  • The Hip Stick, etc.)

These tools are better than basic foam rolling because a car mechanic needs more than just a wrench to fix a car! A wrench can do some things, but not EVERYTHING.

Whether you are a serious athlete or a recreational athlete, these tools will be invaluable in your lifelong journey to becoming a "Master Mechanic" on your own body.


πŸ‘‰ STEP 2 is to Improve Range of Motion (Stretching)

The primary techniques to increase flexibility are:

  • Breathe/relax (static stretching)
  • Contract/relax (PNF stretching)

I cover both of these techniques in great detail in the Runner’s Knee program, but you should ALSO know that there are more than 6 commonly used techniques (which all have their place.) 

To master flexibility and mobility, you should master these techniques. 

For Runners with knee pain, a major target for our tissue work + stretching will primarily be the hips + ankles. 

The reason is that the body compensates if the hips and ankles lack mobility/flexibility. 

If the body compensates, it's like a car driving out of alignment: The faster you drive that car, or the farther you go, the more wear-and-tear happens.

Therefore, we must restore good alignment of the hips + ankles using tissue work and stretching. 


πŸ‘‰ STEP 3 is to Building Strength & Stability (Re-education)

Old-school thinking says, "If you have knee pain...just strengthen your knees!"

This line of thinking, with the “knees over toes” approach, has become very popular.  This approach says: “If you have knee pain, your knees are weak! So make them stronger!”

But modern science tells us it's not JUST about the knees! For example, the title of this systematic review of knee pain says it all:

"Hip AND Knee Strengthening Is More Effective Than Knee Strengthening Alone for Reducing Pain and Improving Activity in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis."

Meaning:  Don’t just strengthen the knees; strengthen the hips too. This is important because the knee is a follower, NOT a leader.  When the hips/ankles lack stability, the knee is unstable and receives the damage. In other words, it FOLLOWS what the hip and ankle dictate.

OK, this is clear. But now, where do we begin fixing runner´s knee?



As this scientific paper shows, the posterior-lateral muscles (glutes), core, and foot are 3 critical areas that need strength for runners!

This is why I focus so much on glute + core + foot stability with my knee pain students.  

To strengthen these 3 areas, you can start by ISOLATING the foot, glutes, and core with the following:

  • basic tripod stability exercises.
  • plank and side-plank variations, 
  • and especially adding a twist to get a “2-for-1” by training the core and glutes simultaneously. 

 From there, we progress to INTEGRATING these movements into more complex exercises such as 1-leg RDLs, lunging variations (with a vertical shin if the knee is painful), and even bilateral weightlifting movements for the posterior chain, like deadlifts.

Ultimately, we end up with IMPROVISATION in chaotic environments like running, jumping, and plyometric activities.

This 3-phase progression (ISOLATE, INTEGRATE, IMPROVISE) helps people recover quicker and safer than most approaches for knee pain.

And if you get each of these 3-steps of the TSR system right, knee pain will FOREVER be a thing of the past!

And you may just be one of the rare people who keep running for a lifetime!


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A post shared by Shane Dowd, CES, CMP (@thegotrom)


The Bottom Line: How To Fix Knee Pain Faster, and For Good

I know it might have felt like we covered a lot today, but…we’ve just scratched the surface!  

In the free companion eBook, I cover 7 more mission-critical ideas to help your knee pain. 

Besides the free eBook, if you want a comprehensive knee pain solution that is helping more than 30,000+ athletes around the world – check out the 45-day “Runner’s Knee” program at

And, if you want personalized, 1-on-1, online coaching with a Doctor of Physical therapy who is also a knee pain expert, visit

And remember, you’re just 1-step away from building or re-building your perfect body.



About The Author

Shane Dowd, CES, CMP, is the owner/founder of He is also a sports performance & mobility coach specializing in injury prevention and flexibility for athletes.



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