A couple of weeks ago I got myself a pair of tights to keep me warm while running during winter. And since I've been running in them, my right knee is hurting, to the point where even simple walking down stairs is causing a significant amount of pain.

I've been doing all kinds of sports ever since I was little (volleyball, jujitsu, badminton) and since a year or 2 I started running. I've ran over a 1000 kilometers between September 2010 and September 2011, including 2 marathons. And all of this without any hint of an knee injury or even a sign of pain in my knee.

I run about 4 days/week, a couple of short (7-10k) runs and 1 longer run (between 15-25k).

With my background being computers and programming, I tend to approach this as a function with a set of variables. The variables include: weather, temperature, time of day, socks, shoes, clothing, how much sleep I got the night before, ....insert those into the "running" function and you'll get a good or a bad run.

And since the pain only started after I started wearing tights on my runs, I'm sort of putting those under suspicion. Has anyone experienced this or know that this is possible?

(PS: Yes, I am seeing a specialized doctor about this, just waiting for my appointment and wanted to get the question out there.)

  • I can't say whether the tights can be the cause for your problems, but I have been using tights - both long and short - for the last 2 years, with no problems at all. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 9:15
  • Did you start running in colder weather because of the tights? Or did you change routes at all?
    – user2567
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 21:16
  • Didn't change my route but I did start running in tights in colder weather. Commented Dec 24, 2011 at 8:56
  • ...perhaps, have you stretched/warm-uped well your muscles in your back thighs before running? Or do the tights somehow intercept blood circulation. Many possible causes, knees are not simple things...
    – user2598
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 11:57
  • It might help if you could update if you stopped using tights and if that fixed the problem. And yes, it is possible that it can cause knee pain if it causes your kneecap to track outside of its normal path.
    – JohnP
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 0:03

4 Answers 4


A "normal" pair of tights cannot be injurious; no way.

Right now the only differentiating factor is the weather: cold. Under 2mi/day is nothing.

Since you mention ITB issues, I'm far more likely to attribute the issues to cold/lack of warmup/inherent tension. Your specialist should have given you a number of stretches; I suffer (still) from ITB issues and if I don't do a few stretches I notice it within days.


Probably not - unless they're restrictively tight and are cutting blood circulation. You haven't described what the pain is so it's hard to tell.

I would point out that 1000km a year isn't all that much. You might have some form of overuse injury from upping your training or changing your motion because of snow or ice conditions.

  • 1
    Valid point indeed. In the meantime I went to see a sports doctor about this and he immediatly knew what the probleem was: ITB Syndrome: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliotibial_band_syndrome Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 13:45
  • Very common. Presumably you've been given instructions to rest and stretch?
    – Sarge
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 14:40
  • Yep, rest & stretch and physiotherapy. Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 14:49
  • Jannemans: It can be very had for runners to do but I strongly suggest following that advice. I've seen people who rush back too early continue to have problems and those that do follow the physio's instructions get back to running properly.
    – Sarge
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 18:38

I am experiencing the same thing. I have a history of knee issues (mostly ITB) and wearing tights for running (and sometimes even wearing skinny jeans throughout the day) seems to exacerbate the problem. I have been running very short distances (3-4k) at an easy pace for the past couple of months to ease back into things and not re-injure myself. The first run I went on wearing my winter tights I experienced IT pain immediately on my left knee. I stopped running, and hiked up that one pant leg, and was fine for the rest of the run. I don't think the tights are to blame for the issue in the first place, but I think they make the existing condition worse, it feels like my kneecap is being prevented from moving the way it wants to.


Yes, and I do not have a history of knee problems. I have 2 pairs of compression tights I wear for cold weather runs. I also have several pairs of non-compression tights both insulated and not. I like the feel of the compression tight, however, I do experience knee discomfort and pain when wearing them on any run over a few miles. It seems like the tights do not allow my knees to track properly. I experience knee issues only in these tights. I've tried to pay special attention on where my knee is placed between the panels on the tights and have found that effects it but, can't always get the position right. The pain can be a problem in either knee and with similar symptoms.

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