Knee Pain: Can You Touch Your Toes?

With the Auckland Marathon still very fresh in our memories I can’t help but notice how many runners with knee pain that I have seen in the clinic over the last 2 weeks had really tight hamstrings. I mean, really tight… not even close to being able to touch your toes. Hamstring tightness is one of the major factors causing knee problems, in particular a common debilitating condition known as “runner’s knee” or termed by us “patellofemoral pain syndrome”.1

Hamstring stiffness is probably one of the easiest problems to address and fix. All you need to do is stretch regularly, preferable every day aiming gradually to be able to comfortably touch your toes while you are sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front. This will lower your risk of getting knee pain and other running injuries.

Some of you often ask me: “How long do I hold a stretch for?”. Current clinical studies do not give a definitive answer, however we recommend to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat it twice daily. What we do know is that static stretching (when you hold a stretch) is more effective than dynamic stretching when you do a bouncing motion.2

This will only take about a minute of your time a day but if you’re serious about your running or simply staying fit and healthy this may save you from that annoying knee pain!

Download your file with instructions on how to do your hamstring stretches from here.

To get your FREE report “Do you make these 5 mistakes with your running?” please click on this link.


1. Waryasz GRMcDermott AY. (2008). Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS): a systematic review of anatomy and potential risk factors. Dynamic Medicine, Jun 26; 7:9.

2. Covert CAAlexander MPPetronis JJDavis DS. (2010). Comparison of ballistic and static stretching on hamstring muscle length using an equal stretching dose. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Nov; 24(11):3008-14.