The knee joint plays a major role in the body’s ability to move. As a hinge joint, it allows you to run, jump, pivot, and kick with relative ease. Unfortunately, these powerful movements can also leave the knee vulnerable to overuse injuries.
The knee joint comprises several key parts: the femur, patella, tibia, and fibula bones, ligaments that connect these bones to each other, and tendons responsible for connecting these bones to nearby muscles. One such tendon, the patellar tendon, is a tough band of connective tissue that attaches the muscles in the front of your thigh to the patella.
Because the patellar tendon straightens the knee, it can become weakened over time as certain repetitive activities like jumping or kicking wear down the tendon. Without proper rest and recovery, the wear and tear produced by these movements can eventually develop into a painful overuse injury called patellar tendonitis, or “jumper’s knee.” This injury is most often seen in athletic sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball.
Strengthening the glutes and legs will help support the knee joint during activity. You can also stretch the leg muscles daily to help relieve any lingering tension that could also contribute to your knee pain. Below are a few exercises you can add to your daily routine at home to strengthen and stretch your legs and help keep an injury like patellar tendonitis from breaking your stride.
Exercises for Jumper’s Knee
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
1) Straight Leg Raise
- Lie on your side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent in front with your foot flat on the floor.
- Place one hand over your pelvis for added stability
- Lift the bottom leg up, keeping it straight.
- Keep the foot and kneecap pointed forward during movement.
- Return to the initial position.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
2) Glute Bridges
- Lie flat on your back, keeping your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Roll your pelvis back towards the floor, reducing the gap between your back and the floor.
- Squeeze your gluteal muscles and brace your core.
- Lift your hips off the floor until your hips and torso make a straight line.
- Keep your core and glutes activated, holding this position for 2-3 seconds at the top of the motion.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
3) Banded Clams
- Wrap a resistance band around your legs just above your knees.
- Lie on your side with your back and glutes against the wall.
- Bend your knees and press your heels together.
- Lift the top leg until it reaches a natural stopping point (about hip height when lying on your side), and without letting your pelvis rotate.
- With a slow and controlled motion, return to initial position and repeat as directed.
- Complete 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
4) Hamstring Stretch
- While lying down, place a resistance band under the foot.
- With the band securely placed, raise your leg up by flexing the hip and knee.
- Flex the foot slightly with your toes pointing towards you.
- Slowly straighten the knee by pushing your heel toward the ceiling.
- You will feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 30-second holds.
5) Foam Roll Quadriceps
- Place a foam roller under your quads and balance on your elbows in a plank position.
- Brace your core and keep your low back straight.
- Roll from just above the knee to right below the hip joint.
- Hold the foam roller over any tender areas for 10-20 seconds or until the pain lessens.
- For more emphasis on one leg, shift your body weight to one side or cross one leg over the other.
- Spend no more than 2 minutes on the foam roller.
Kick Knee Pain to the Curb
If you’ve been suffering from knee pain, schedule an appointment with Airrosti today to find a provider near you. Our providers will conduct a thorough injury assessment to identify the underlying cause of your pain.
By treating pain at the source and not just focusing on the symptoms, our providers have resolved most injuries in as few as three visits based on patient-reported outcomes. We’ll also equip you with the resources and tools needed to treat your injury at home to help speed your recovery and prevent future injury.
We also offer remote telehealth appointments. Call us at (800) 404-6050 to learn more about telehealth and schedule your virtual appointment today.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.