Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Exercises
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), also known as runner’s knee, is one of the most prevalent conditions affecting the knee joint. Generally, symptoms respond to rest, physical therapy and appropriate exercises and can be caused by several factors such as improper kneecap alignment or overuse from vigorous athletics or training sessions.
Running knee is the most common cause of knee pain, but it’s not the only type that can be caused by an imbalance in muscle groups surrounding your knee. Working with your physical therapist to correct these imbalances will help avoid recurrences of PFPS.
Strong muscles are essential for a healthy knee joint. Weakened thigh muscles can place undue strain on your joint, leading it to wear down over time. Furthermore, this increases your likelihood of developing arthritis in your knee joint which could result in chronic pain and stiffness.
Strengthening your thigh and calf muscles is essential for supporting your knee during activity. Additionally, stretch out your quadriceps, hamstrings and hip muscles so they aren’t too tight.
Regularly performing these exercises can help prevent knee pain from returning. While you can do them independently from home, consulting your physical therapist for guidance on the best way to perform them is advisable.
Start this exercise standing with your feet about 3 to 5 inches apart and knees straight. Shift your weight onto the injured leg, then straighten it as you lower the other leg back down onto the floor slowly. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise on each side for two or three sets.
This exercise is a simple yet effective way to strengthen your quadriceps and increase the load tolerance of the patellofemoral joint. Additionally, it improves alignment and coordination throughout your lower body (hips, knees, and ankles).
Utilize a lightweight exercise ball or foam roller to support your upper body as you gently pull your knee toward your chest. Repeat this patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise several times daily until symptoms start to improve.
One effective exercise for PFPS is called the leg lift. Stand with your heels together and pelvis anchored and perpendicular to the ground, lift your top leg as high as you can. Hold for a second or two before lowering it back down again. Repeat 10-15 reps of this patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise on each side for two or three sets.
Regularly performing these exercises will keep your thigh and calf muscles strong and flexible, helping to prevent reoccurrence of runner’s knee.
Steer clear of long, marathon-type runs and jumping into running distances you haven’t done in a while; doing so can put too much strain on the knee, increasing its likelihood for developing PFPS.