written by Matthew Henderson, Physical Therapist
First you need to understand our main objective: Improving the alignment and glide of the kneecap. This will allow inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.
Begin a targeted exercise program. For best results, make sure you address both strength and flexibility. Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform - our PT's have done it for you! See the exercise option below.
Initially, perform your exercises a few times a day. As the pain diminishes, you can ease off.
Limit activities which exacerbate your pain (cycling, running etc.) Don't worry, this isn't for forever, we're simply giving the body a chance to heal.
ICE OR HEAT
If you notice any swelling, go with ICE over hot packs (instructions on exercise page.)
WHAT TO EXPECT
These strategies should lead to noticeable improvement within a few days.
BACK TO ACTION
Once the pain eases, slowly return to normal daily and athletic activities as tolerated. Let pain be your guide. If something hurts, back off!
NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH
Check back in and I'll connect you with a licensed physical therapist in your area.
-- Consult your doctor or physical therapist prior to initiating a new exercise program --
Quad/IT Band Stretch
The quadriceps and IT band are located on the front and outer thigh. When tight they can cause the kneecap (patella) to glide incorrectly, leading to irritation and pain.
IT Band: Foam Roll
This exercise can be a bit uncomfortable, but VERY effective at improving IT Band mobility and reducing patellofemoral pain.
Short arc quads
Short Arc Quads
This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens following a knee injury, leading to knee buckling and pain.
The quadriceps are some of the most important functional muscles in the body. When weakened, instability and pain often occurs.
The gluteus medius is located on the outer hip. It may seem strange to target the outer hips for knee pain, but research shows strengthening this region is key to reducing poor kneecap glide and patellofemoral pain.
Swelling can restrict knee range of motion, decrease strength and slow the healing process. Icing combined with rest and therapeutic exercises can jump start your recovery.