Patellar Tendonitis Exercises

Patellar tendon attaches your kneecap to your shinbone and helps give your leg strength. It also helps lower your knee during squatting or bending. The tendon can become inflamed because it has to absorb serious load during day-to-day activities and this may lead to a condition called patellar tendonitis. Runners and jumpers are more likely to develop this condition, and it may range from a mild inflammation to a complete rupture of the tendon.

Your recovery ranges from a couple of weeks to several months depending on the severity of the condition. However, you can accelerate the process by performing patellar tendonitis exercises.

Initial Treatment

Soon after getting an injury, you should take rest for at least 2-4 weeks, apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at least thrice a day for 2-3 days, and take a painkiller like acetaminophen, aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Talk to your doctor if you find no relief after taking these measures.

Flexibility Exercises

The good thing with flexibility exercises is that you can try most of them soon after you get injured. Here are a few effective patellar tendonitis exercises for improved flexibility.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Get a stool of about 15 inches height and put the heel of your injured leg on it. Lean forward while keeping your leg straight. Bend at the hips until you feel a light stretch in the back of your thigh. Avoid rolling your shoulders while performing this exercise and never bend at the waist or you will stretch your lower back. Be sure to hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat thrice.

Quadriceps Stretch

Stand a few inches away from the wall. Keep one hand against the wall and keep your face straight ahead. Now, grab the ankle on your injured leg and lift it up towards your butt. Keep your back straight all the time and keep your knees together as well. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and return to your starting position.

Leg Lift

Side-lying on the floor and be sure to be on the side that is not injured. Tighten your thighs on your injured leg and then slowly lift your leg about 10 inches apart from the other leg. Hold your position for a few seconds and then return to the starting point. Keep your leg straight all the time. Perform at least 2 sets with 15 reps each.

Rectus Femoris Stretch

Find a padded surface and slowly kneel on your injured knee. Keep your foot flat on the floor all the time and place the other leg in front of it. With your chest and head facing forward, grab your ankle behind you and pull it up until you feel a light stretch in your front thigh. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat the same thrice.

Strengthening Exercises

You should start doing patellar tendonitis exercisesto strengthen your muscles soon after the pain subsides a bit. Never try these exercises without consulting your doctor first, especially when you still feel the pain.

Quadriceps Strengthening

All you have to do is lift your heels and put your weight on the balls of your feet. While maintaining this position, squat down and slowly move your feet up and down. Alternately, you can also do this on a step by standing on the edge of it. Ensure that your hurt knee is in line with the second toe. Slowly step down using your other leg and touch the heel of your opposite leg on the stair below. Then, return to your starting position.


Regular squats will also help strengthen quadriceps. Stand in an upright position with your hands extended right in front of your body. Lower your body until your thighs become parallel to the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times.

Straight Leg Raise

Lie on your back and keep your legs flat on the floor. Contract the muscle on your leg and lift it about 10 inches off the floor. Hold your position and lower your leg once again to the ground. Repeat 15 times.

Prone Hip Extension

This is among the best patellar tendonitis exercises. For starters, lie down with your face towards the floor. Keep your legs behind your body and arms tucked under your head. Now, pull your bellybutton towards your back or spine while contracting your abs. Tighten your butt as well as thighs and lift your injured leg off the floor up to 8 inches. Keep your leg straight all the time. Hold the position for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15 reps each.

Clam Exercise

Lie on the floor on your uninjured side with your knees and hips bent and feet together. Now, raise your top leg up and make sure your heels keep touching each other. Hold the position for a couple of seconds and then lower your leg. Do 2 sets of 15 reps.

Knee Stabilization Exercises

In addition to the various patellar tendonitis exercises mentioned above, knee stabilization could also help with your recovery.

  • Get a piece of elastic tubing and wrap it around your uninjured leg.
  • Attach the other end of the tubing with a door about ankle height.
  • With your face towards the door, stand on your injured leg and bend your knee slightly to engage your thigh muscles.
  • Now, slowly move your leg with the tubing behind you.
  • Do 2 sets of this exercise with 15 reps per set.

Once you have completed this set, you can do the following:

  • Turn at a 90° angle to ensure that your injured leg is close to the door.
  • Now, slowly move your uninjured leg away from your body.
  • Perform 2 sets of 15 reps.

Once you have completed two sets, you can try another variation of the same exercise.

  • Turn your body at a 90° angle to ensure your uninjured leg is close to the door.
  • Move the same leg across your body to feel a stretch.
  • Do another 2 sets with 15 reps each.
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