Jumper's Knee Rehab
After reading my blog post from last week, you may now be wondering what stretches and exercises are most helpful to help recover from Patellar Tendonitis. Listed below are some of my favourites!
Perform this stretch standing, with one arm on something sturdy for support. Bend your knee, and with your hand grab your foot or ankle. If you aren't able to hold on to your ankle, try using a belt or towel to assist you. Squeeze your glute muscles. You should feel this stretch in the front of the thigh. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3x/day.
Figure 4 Stretch
Stretching out the glutes is just as important as stretching out the quadricep muscles here. Start by laying on your back, and putting one ankle just above the other knee (making your legs form a 4). Then, pull the leg with the free foot toward the body until you feel a good stretch into the buttock. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat 3x/day.
This is best done on a leg extension machine that you would find at a gym, but can be done with a band at home as well. The key here is to work through as large of a range of motion as you can with minimal pain. That might mean doing a reduced range of motion that you can tolerate to start, but ideally working up to starting with your knees bent to 90 degrees, then straighten fully. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps on alternating days.
Eccentric Slanted Step Downs
For me, this one was a knee-saver. As the video indicates, this is best done on a slanted surface. In the past I have used a slanted board, and 'jimmied' my own together by using a wobble board and put a dumbbell under one side to prop it up to make it slanted. If not available, a 6-12" box will work. The key here is to lower from the box to the floor over a count of 5 seconds, while keeping the knee tracking nicely over the toe. During this exercise we permit a small amount of pain (no more than 4/10 pain). Perform 3 sets of 10 reps to affected leg daily.
The hips play a major role in knee stability, so it should be no surprise we need to target the hips here! This is an easy exercise to add in to your routine. Start standing with hands supported on a wall or chair. Lift one leg out to the side, no more than 30 degrees. You should feel the muscle on buttock doing most of the work here. Perform 10 reps/side 3x/day.
This combination of stretches and exercises is an approachable home care method to reducing symptoms associated with patellar tendonitis. Before beginning any exercise program check with your health care provider to ensure it is appropriate.
Dr. Elaine Screaton (DC, BSc) is a Chiropractor in NW Calgary currently practicing at Synergea Family Health Centre in Calgary, AB.