Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Exercises

The following Patellofemoral pain syndrome exercises are from our full PFPS rehabilitation program. They include mobility and stretching, strengthening, activation, movement control and functional exercises.

Stretching & mobility

These exercises maintain and improve flexibility.

Quadriceps stretch

Keep your knees together and gently pull your leg up. You should feel a stretch at the front of the leg which should not be painful. Hold onto something for balance if you need to or try holding your ear with the opposite arm.

Hip flexor stretch

Kneel with one knee on the floor and the other foot in front with the knee bent. Push your hips forward and keep the back upright.

Activation exercises

Clam in flexion

Lie on your side with your knees bent and slightly forwards so your hips are in flexion, then raise your knee up in a slow, controlled movement and return to the start position.

Double leg bridge

Raise your hips up and hold for a couple of seconds before lowering.

Strengthening exercises

Seated leg raise

Lift your straight leg up, turn your foot outwards and hold.

Bent knee ball squeeze

Lie on your back with a ball (either a small football, medicine ball or swiss ball) between the knees. Squeeze the thighs into the ball, holding the contraction for a few seconds before resting and repeating.

Terminal knee extension

Tie the band around something and then tie it around the back of your knee. Lift the heel off the ground, then push the heel down into the ground, to straighten the knee and resist the band.

Double leg press

Aim for no more than 70% of what your maximum load would be for 3 sets. So at the end of the third set, you should not be pushing out the last possible rep – You should be comfortably at 70%.

Knee extension

Ideally, use a knee extension machine or resistance band.

Movement control

Single leg stand

Stand on one leg for the time required. If you find this too easy then close your eyes, or use a wobble board or cushion to make it even more difficult.

Gym ball bridge

With heels on the ball push the hips upwards maintaining control throughout. If you don’t have a gym ball, place your legs on a chair or bench.

Forward T

Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent and lean forward. Open up your arms pulling the non-supporting leg backwards to make the shape of a ‘T’.

Functional exercises

A march lateral

A march laterally or sideways. Concentrate on accurate technique with a good fast knee lift.

A lock at wall

Start by going into a high knee, leaning against a wall, then take the hip up towards 90 degrees, toes pulled up to the ceiling.

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