Pain in the front of the knee is a very common problem. This anterior knee pain may also be referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, or patellar tendinitis. This pain is usually a dull ache, which is worse with running, jumping, squatting, getting up from a chair, or walking stairs. Swelling and a sensation of instability may or may not be present.
Occasionally, an acute injury or direct trauma to the knee can cause anterior knee pain, but usually it is caused by cumulative overload. This cumulative overload may occur for two different reasons: long-term overuse with an inefficiency of movement, or long-term underuse (chronic inactivity).
Your doctor at Cole Pain Therapy Group will perform an examination to diagnose your knee pain. If your pain is acute (new), ice and/or anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful. This is a good time to apply R.I.C.E. After the inflammation has subsided, a functional examination can uncover “weak links” in the biomechanical chain.
While there are thousands of different exercises to strengthen the knee and surrounding joints, most people don’t want to do thousands of exercises. I have found it best to give no more than three corrective exercises as homework. Here are the “big three of knee exercises” that serve as the first step in addressing anterior knee pain from altered knee biomechanics.
1. Pillow Push
Simply push the back of your knee into the pillow and hold it there for 5 to 6 seconds. Then release. Repeat 8-10 times. Perform twice a day.
2. Terminal Knee Extension
Without pushing hard into the pillow, extend your knee until it is as straight as possible. Hold this for about 3 seconds. Then relax your leg. Perform twice a day.
3. Heel Slide
Lie down with your legs straight. Slowly drag one heel back towards the buttock as the knee bends. Then reverse, and slowly push the heel out until your leg is straight. Repeat 10 times. Perform twice a day.
Only perform these exercises after consulting with your doctor of chiropractic. If any of these exercises are painful or your anterior knee pain is worsening, please be sure to again consult your doctor.