Do you suffer from knee pain? Do your knees hurt when you run, walk down the stairs, or sit for too long?
You could have something called patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as PFPS. PFPS is an umbrella term used for pain arising from the patellofemoral joint or adjacent soft tissues. This means there could be inflammation around the patella where the kneecap is not aligned and isn’t tracking properly in the groove. This can cause pain and/or popping/crackling. PFPS is quite common where the kneecap tracks more laterally. This usually occurs because the structures on the lateral thigh (vastus lateralis and IT band) are stronger than the medial structure (vastus medialis).
We will go through 4 exercises to assist in your rehab and get you on the right track and back to your sport or everyday life!
1. Monster walk
These are a great exercise to activate the muscles in your hips and glutes. Hip extensors and abductors play a huge role in the function of your kinetic chain. Also remember, the higher up the leg the band is, the easier the movement. For the most challenging monster walk, keep the band at the ankles or feet.
*Make sure the knees don’t cave inwards. Try to keep them straight forward or out to the sides slightly*
2. Single Leg Sit to Stand
This exercise will strengthen your gluteus maximus and quadriceps, while ago working your gluteus medius and minimus for improved single-leg and pelvic stability. The lowering part of the movement works your hamstrings eccentrically, protecting against hamstring strains.
*Make sure the knee does not cave in when you go into the single leg squat. Try to keep the hip, knee, and ankle inline*
3. Core - Deadbugs
Deadbugs are an effective way to strengthen and stabilize your core, spine, and back muscles. This core exercise can also help with coordination.
*Remember to continuously push your low back into the ground. Like pushing your bellybutton down*
4. Quad and IT Band Rolling
Rolling out is an excellent way to get your blood flowing and keeping muscles engaged. Rolling will alleviate tightness and help get things moving more freely.
That’s a good place to start with your recovery! These 4 exercises will assist in decreasing pain at home, the gym, or your everyday life. One of the best ways to prevent and manage symptoms is to see a physiotherapist. They will create a program tailored just for you and find the specific cause of your knee pain!
“Should I wear a knee brace?”
You could. The goal is to get the structures around the knee strong enough that you don’t have to rely on a brace, but a brace can be great to wear during the beginning of your rehab. The brace can be worn during sports and everyday living to alleviate knee pain. It will be a good way to stabilize your kneecap. As you strengthen the structures around the patella, there may not be a need for a brace anymore.
“Do I need to stop running?”
Not necessarily. In the beginning it’s a good idea to substantially decrease the distance and intensity you’re running at, so you don’t overuse the structures in your lower body. It is acceptable to be running before pain starts. Once all the structures around the kneecap are stronger, and the kneecap is tracking properly, then you may move back up to more intense running. A good place to start is with the exercises mentioned above, but to also see a physiotherapist