Patellofemoral pain syndrome treatment with 4 exercises

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The patellofemoral pain syndrome is a prevalent knee problem, especially among athletes and older people. Also, women and teenagers have a higher risk of developing Patellofemoral pain syndrome.

It’s the most common form of knee pain under the kneecap.

Fortunately, you can treat it quite quickly with four exercises. It is a treatment based on the latest research.

And the best part is that you can do these exercises by yourself at home.

The patellofemoral pain syndrome recovery time with these exercises is about four weeks.

To understand how and why it works so well, you first have to know what is causing your patellofemoral pain syndrome.

When you know the cause, you will understand the treatment.

The treatment starts with wearing this knee brace. It reduces the pressure on your patella, relieving symptoms right away.

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In today’s post you’ll learn:

  1. What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?
  2. What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome?
  3. What is the cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome?
  4. Patellofemoral pain syndrome treatment

What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?

patellofemoral pain syndrome

When you bend your knee, your knee cap follows your lower leg in its motion. Your knee cap shifts down and a little bit to the outer or lateral side of your knee to allow the movement.

When you extend your knee your kneecap shifts up and a little to the inside or medial side of your knee, this is called patellar tracking.

When you suffer from the patellofemoral pain syndrome the gliding of your kneecap when you bend your knee is disturbed. This disturbing causes irritation of the joint capsule.

Several things can cause this problem. I will show you this later.

But first I will show you the symptoms that come with the patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Dysfunction of the patella tracking in your knee is the cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Your patella or kneecap locates inside your quadriceps tendon and the joint capsule.

Your quadriceps tendon is the connection between your quadriceps and your tibia or lower leg.

The kneecap sits in a groove at the end of the thighbone — a layer of cartilage lines underneath your kneecap to smoothen the gliding of the kneecap.


What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome?

The main characteristic of patellofemoral pain syndrome is the pain on the front side of your knee. Usually, you feel pain at the lateral side or around your kneecap. Sometimes there may also be pain present under your kneecap.

Pain often occurs during:

 

      • Sitting for an extended period with your knees flexed.
      • During squatting
      • When you kneel down
      • Pain during walking
      • Pain during walking stairs

 

Problems in patellar tracking of the kneecap cause these symptoms, which causes stress on the surrounding tissue.

What is the cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome?

As you know right now the problem with the patellofemoral pain syndrome is a lack of patellar tracking.

There are four possible causes:

 

      • Tight upper leg muscles
      • Weak upper leg muscles
      • Weak hip muscles
      • Tight joint capsule

 

When you bend your knee, your patella has to slide down with your lower leg. But as it locates inside the tendon of your leg muscles, tight upper leg muscles will prevent this.

They will keep your patella in its place because the tendon can’t move due to the tension in your upper leg muscles.

Weak leg muscles also cause this problem but now because they can’t pull your patella up enough while extending your knee.

Weak hip muscles change the angle of your knee and kneecap because they cause your hip to drop. This way the forces of your leg muscles are working in the wrong direction, making them insufficient.

The final problem is often tight joint capsule. As your patella also locates inside your joint capsule, a small joint capsule will keep it in place instead of allowing to follow your leg.

Usually, someone with patellofemoral pain syndrome suffers from all these causes.

That’s why we’re going to solve all these causes.

If you don’t do that, the pain is only going to get worse.

So let’s continue.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise treatment

Now you know what is causing your patellofemoral pain syndrome, it is time to treat it the right way.

In a study done in 2017, they found that a combination of treatments works best for solving this problem.

And that is precisely the treatment I will describe here.

This treatment consists of:

 

      • Increase the mobility of your patella
      • Increase the strength of your thigh muscles
      • Reduce the tension of your thigh muscles
      • Increasing the power of your hip muscles

With every exercise, I will explain to you why it works for this problem.

You can also wear a brace to support your knee. This brace will reduce the pressure your patella is putting on your knee and will help to stabilize it. This way your pain reduces immediately, which makes it easier for you to perform the exercises shown below.

knee brace


Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise 1: Increase the mobility of the patella

The purpose of this first exercise is to increase the movement of your patella.

As I’ve told you before when you have patellofemoral pain syndrome, your patella doesn’t slide up and down the groove, in your knee as it should. By performing this exercise, you will solve this problem.

Increasing the mobility of your knee cap will reduce the stress on the joint capsule relieving the pain.

Perform the exercise like this:

 

      • Sit down with your leg straight
      • Place your thumb on the medial side of your patella
      • Now push your patella to the lateral side
      • Hold this for 10 seconds
      • Repeat this ten times.

Try to perform this exercise several times a day. Within a few days, you should notice that the mobility of your kneecap increases.

Increased mobility of your knee cap will reduce the pain of your patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise 2: Increase the strength of your thigh muscles

The purpose of the second exercise is to increase the power of your quadriceps. We will use the active straight leg raise for this. With the active straight leg raise, you can train your quadriceps without bending your knee or putting a lot of pressure on your knee. Therefore this exercise is better at this point than the squat or leg press.

As your knee cap embeds the tendon of your quadriceps, the strength of your quadriceps is essential in the patellar tracking. When your quadriceps don’t pull hard enough on your patella, your patella is not going to move.

By increasing the strength, the patellar tracking will also improve.

Perform the exercise like this:

 

      • Lay down on your back with your legs completely stretched
      • Pull your toes towards you
      • Now lift your leg straight up and let it come down again
      • Repeat this ten times
      • If this is to easy you can do it 15 or even 20 times
      • Repeat this three times

 

You can see how to perform the exercise on the video below.

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Perform this exercise 2 times a day. You will notice that your healthy leg will go much smoother than your sore leg.

When the exercise becomes more comfortable, you will also feel less pain in your knee.

When the exercise becomes too easy, you can also add some weight through these ankle weights.

By adding these weights, you can increase the strength of your thigh muscle, even more, achieving even better results.

You can choose between different weights based on your strength.

You can also use these weights for various other exercises.

ankle weights

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Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise 3: Stretching your thigh muscles

The third exercise we have to do is designed to stretch your thigh muscles.

As your patella embeds in the tendon of your quadriceps, tight quadriceps will push your patella against your knee. Thigh quadriceps causes more friction for your patella when it moves.

By stretching the muscle, you will reduce the pressure and increase the patellar tracking.

Perform the exercise like this:

 

      • Grab the ankle of your injured leg
      • Pull your ankle towards your buttock
      • Hold this for 20 seconds
      • You will feel the tension in your thigh muscle

 

Repeat this exercise several times a day.
You can find the exercise also in the video below:

Perform this exercise as often as possible.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercise 4: Increasing the strength of your hip muscles

The final activity is designed to increase the power of your hip muscles.

Weak hip muscles cause your hip to drop when you walk. When your hip drop, it pushes you knee inwards which results in a change in the direction of the forces on your patella. The shift in direction influences the patellar tracking and thus the patellofemoral pain syndrome.

By performing the following exercise, the strength of your hip gets increased. Increased hip strength will improve the movements of your knee, reducing the pressure on your kneecap.

Perform the exercise like this:

 

      • Lay down on your side with you painful knee on top
      • Keep your knee extended and your toes pointing towards you
      • Now lift your leg into the air
      • Repeat this ten times
      • Do this three times

Perform this exercise twice a day. When ten times is too easy, you can increase the number of repetitions to 15 or even 20 times.

If you find our information helpful and would like to support us, you can donate here through PayPal or leave a review on Google or Facebook.

Also, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video’s.

Conclusion
Knee pain caused by patellofemoral pain syndrome is very well treatable within a few weeks. Perform these exercises regularly, and you’ll see your knee problem disappear.

When you have any question feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], and I will update this page.

When you find this page helpful feel free to share it with your friends and other patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome.