Runner’s Knee/Patellofemoral Pain: Exercises

Knee anatomy

If your looking at this post then I am hoping you will have already read my guide to Runner’s Knee and therefore know about the condition in general. An exercise program is vital to the recovery and rehabilitation of runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain. It may be necessary to reduce or stop the activities that are aggravating the pain including running and squat based exercises. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid doing exercise altogether depending on your situation it maybe possible to substitute with swimming or cycling as an alternative to keep your fitness up while you recovery from the injury. A majority of patients find ice being helpful in reducing symptoms and can be placed on the knee for 4 minutes wrapped up in a kitchen towel.

The exercises found in this document are generic for the typical patient with patella femoral pain and may not be suited to every patient’s circumstances.

Exercises for Runner’s Knee:

Squat with medicine ball rotation

Squats with Rotation:

Place a ball or foam roller between your legs and as you drop down to a squat position rotation your knee over to the other side. This can be done to both sides or to one depending on your situation


Wall Squat


Wall Squat against a swiss ball:

Place the ball at the curve of your lower back with your hands outreached. Drop down so your knees are at right angles with your knees over your toes and hold for 10 seconds before returning to standing.

Single leg glue bridge


One leg hip lifts:

Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Slowly lift up your hips so it is in a diagonal plane with your knees. Once in this position lift up one leg straight into the air and hold for 7 seconds before returning to the floor.  You can repeat this 5 times and then switch to the other leg and do the same thing.


wobble board proprioception

Standing on one leg on a wobble board:

This exercise to work on your proprioception and balance of your ankle. It would be ideal to stand on a wobble board on one leg. However any uneven surface would be suitable you can start with a pillow and work your way up as you find it easier.

single leg Lunge

One leg lunge:

Start standing and move one leg forwards so your knee is over your toes then step forward and return to neutral. You can do this exercise 10 times on one leg before switching over to the other side.


Squats with changing angles:

Start with a normal squat with you feet pointed straight in front of you, then start to alter the angle of you feet each time so that you target slightly different parts of the quadriceps muscle. This will help to strengthen the imbalance between the individual quads.

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