What can I do to help my knee get better and hurt less?
Take a break from physical activity that causes a lot of pounding on your legs, like running, volleyball, or basketball. If you want to keep exercising, try swimming or another low-impact activity. You may want to try working out on nonimpact elliptical trainers, which are popular at gyms. Because these machines support your body weight, they put less stress on your knees. As your knees feel better, you can slowly go back to your normal sports. But do this slowly.
Do the exercises shown in this handout. Each exercise should take only a few minutes. Doing them twice a day is a good start. The most important ones are usually the first two. These two exercises make your front thigh muscles (called "quads") stronger. This is important because your quad muscles control the movement of your kneecap.
Talk to your doctor about footwear. It would help to bring your shoes in for the doctor to see. Proper walking or running shoes can help knee pain. Even a simple arch support insert from a shoe store can be helpful.
Keep exercising to get better. Patellofemoral pain can be hard to treat, and your knees won't get better overnight. Some people are lucky and get better quickly. But it might take six weeks or even longer for your knee to get better. You'll be less likely to get this pain again if you stay in good shape, but don't make sudden changes in your workouts.
Here are some exercises to help your knee pain. After you do all the exercises as shown in the drawings, reverse your position and do the exercises with your other leg, so both knees get the benefit of stretching.
1. Quadriceps strengthening: isometrics. Position yourself as shown. Hold your right leg straight for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Do the exercise 5 to 10 times.
2. Quadriceps strengthening: straight leg lift. Position yourself as shown. Raise your right leg several inches and hold it up for 5 to 10 seconds. Then lower your leg to the floor slowly over a few seconds. Do the exercise 5 to 10 times.
3. Iliotibial band and buttock stretch (right side shown). Position yourself as shown. Twist your trunk to the right and use your left arm to "push" your right leg. You should feel the stretch in your right buttock and the outer part of your right thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds. Do the exercise 5 to 10 times.