What Exercises Will A Physical Therapist Have You Do For Runner's Knee?

Health & Medical Blog

Runner's knee is a common condition that causes aching and pain behind and around the patella, or knee cap. While it is most common in runners, you may also experience it if you play other sports that involve running, or if you spend a lot of time on your feet at work. Seeing a physical therapist can be really helpful for those struggling with runner's knee. They'll show you exercises to help strengthen the muscles around your knee while also stretching the area out. This will not only help relieve your pain but will also help keep the pain from coming back. Here are three key exercises your physical therapist is likely to recommend for runner's knee.

Hip Flexor Stretch 

Your hip flexors are the muscles that flex your hip. If they are tight, then you may land with more force than is necessary, which can be hard on your knees. Your physical therapist is therefore likely to recommend stretching your hip flexors. An easy way to do this is to stand upright with one leg a foot or so in front of the other. Bend your back leg at the knee, and as you do so, shift your pelvis forward. Keep your back straight as you do so. Hold this position to the count of 10, and then stand back up. Switch foot positions, and do the same thing again, stretching the opposite hip. You should do about 10 stretches on each side per session.

Calf Stretch

Tight calves can also lead to runner's knee and other knee ailments. Your PT will likely recommend that you stretch your calves either by standing on the edge of a stair with your heels hanging off, or with the wall stretch technique. With the wall stretch technique, you lean against the wall with your hands planted firmly on it. Place one leg behind the other, and lean forward, stretching the calf of your back leg. About 10 reps per side should do the trick!


To strengthen the muscles around your knee, your PT may recommend step-ups. These are exactly what they sound like. You stand in front of a block or step, and you step up onto it with one foot. Step back down. Then, repeat on the other side. Keep the leg that is not stepping in the air; all the focus should be on your stepping leg. Do as many of these as you comfortably can in a session, and build over time.

With these exercises and the guidance of a physical therapist, your runner's knee should soon stop bothering you.


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