Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Exercises to Strengthen the Kneecaps and Alleviate Pain

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The patella, or kneecap, is a sesamoid, a floating bone incorporated into a tendon. Along with the tibia and femur, the patella helps to make up the knee joint. Each of these bones is covered with cartilage where the surface contacts with another surface. Common injuries to the kneecap involve weakness of the patellar tendon and damage to the cartilage. Exercises to alleviate pain strengthen the muscles of the knee joint.

Front Step Up

The front step up can be used to help build strengthen in the patellar tendon. To perform a front step up, place a 4-inch inch high surface in front of you and stand 12 to 16 inches behind. Step onto the raised surface with your left foot first, using your hamstring to raise you, then bring up your right foot. Step back down with your left foot first and repeat the exercise starting with your right foot. Alternate between feet, performing one to three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.

STEP UPS onto bench/chair

Start facing the bench. Step up onto the bench with your right foot. Step up with your left foot. Step down with your right foot and then down with your left.

The standing lunge is an exercise that helps to strengthen the vastus medialis obliques muscle on the inside of the thigh near the knee and the gluteus medius muscle on the outside of the hip. These muscles aid in the tracking of the kneecap in the correct path and the spreading out of the forces throughout the joint. Stand with the injured knee in front of the other. Step forward and bend the knee until you feel your inner thigh muscle stretch and slowly return to the starting position. Keep the knee forward while performing this exercises and do two sets of 10 repetitions.

Sitting Knee Extension

Sitting knee extensions versus a resistance band will help to strengthen the quadriceps muscle as well as the patellar tendon. Tie a resistance band to the lower leg of a chair. Sit in the chair with your injured knee bent and tie the other end of the resistance band around your ankle. While keeping your back straight, tighten your quadriceps muscle and slowly raise your leg up, pause for three seconds and slowly lower the leg to the starting position. Perform this exercise in three sets of 10 repetitions.

Hamstring Curl Vs. Resistance Band

Symptoms of patellar pain sometimes manifest as the result of muscular imbalance, in this case between the hamstring and the quadriceps muscles. Tie a resistance band to an anchor point and tie the other end to the ankle of your injured leg. Lie on your stomach with the lower part of your injured leg at a 90-degree angle to the upper part. Slowly pull the leg toward your buttocks while tightening your hamstring muscle. Perform this exercise in three sets of 10 repetitions.


  1. thanks for posting this. I struggle with this type of knee pain

  2. Tina, your welcome. let me know if you need anymore help.

  3. I have been struggling with knee pain. I am going to try this out! Thank you!

  4. What do you recommend other than lunges? I have really bad knees and when I attempt to do lunges my knees pop and cause a lot of pain.

  5. I am just getting over what I believe to be runners knee, although my knees are still very sore I want to keep exercising. I started out with these exercises and they were very painful. When is it okay to work through the pain and when is it a sign to give it a rest?

  6. I love every single one of your work outs! They are going to help me get back in shape in no time :) Keep em comin girl (:

  7. I have pain in my knee since last year. what will you recommend either to operate it or not? Thanks for all the information here. It is really useful to know.

    1. It is important to ask your doctor and then make an educated decision. Knee operations are a big deal and you need to talk with your doctor to find out all your options. I will keep you in my prayers.