Reducing Anterior Knee Pain
Pain in the front of your knee or under your kneecap is often called patellofemoral pain. You may feel this pain after exercising or when you sit too long. The pain may be a nagging ache or an occasional sharp twinge. Because the pain is around the front of your knee, treatment has traditionally focused on the knee itself and may include taping or bracing the kneecap, or patella, and/or strengthening the thigh muscle—the quadriceps—that helps control your kneecap to improve the contact area between the kneecap and the thigh bone, or femur, beneath it.
However, recent evidence suggests that strengthening your hip muscles can also help. The theory is that strong hip muscles can decrease the stress in your knee. A study published in the January 2018 issue of JOSPT provides new insights and evidence-based suggestions on how to strengthen your entire leg to decrease your knee pain and help you return to full activity.
What Should I Strengthen?
The expert clinicians and researchers who authored this paper reviewed 14 of the best published research studies using a process called a systematic review. The studies they examined included 673 patients with moderate-to-severe patellofemoral pain. The researchers found that combining hip and knee strengthening exercise is not only effective but also superior to simply strengthening the knee muscles to lessen pain and help people return to their normal activities. The other important finding is that the benefits of these exercises lasted even after the patients completed their physical therapy.
Should I Go to PT?
People with this type of knee pain do benefit from physical therapy. Even if you are already active, having supervised progression, as well as attention to form is key.
HERE are a few of my favorite exercises to get your started.