10 Best Runner's Knee Exercises

A runner’s knee is not limited to people who are runners. Anyone who takes part in activities that put pressure on the knees like walking, jumping, riding a bike, jogging or even bending is at risk to develop a runner’s knee. The scientific term for runner's knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome and is used to describe a wide variety of knee pain problems. Luckily, some exercises can help treat this condition.

Runner's Knee Exercises

1. Leg Lift

This exercise involves lying on the side that is uninjured and then lifting the other leg 7 to 9 inches away while keeping it straight. You should tighten the thigh muscles of the injured leg while you do so. Do this exercise slowly, and repeat 2 sets, with one set containing 15 reps.

2. Quad Sets

You need to sit on the floor with the injured leg straight and the other leg bent. Tighten the muscle on the top of your thigh to force the back of your injured knee to touch the floor. Hold this position for ten to fifteen seconds to count as one rep. Repeat 2 sets of 15 reps.

3. Leg Raise

The straight leg raise is one of the most effective runner's knee exercises. Lie down flat on the mat on your back, while both legs are straight in front. Then bend the uninjured leg and lay the foot flat on the mat. Lift the other leg for about 7-9 inches off the mat and then slowly bring it down. Try to do 10-15 reps and 2 sets. 

4. Clam Exercise

This exercise is carried out by lying down on one side with the legs curled up and feet touching each other. Lift the above leg while keeping your feet in contact, hold this position for two seconds and then return back to the starting position. Try to do two sets of 15 reps.

5. Wall Squat Using a Ball

Stand straight with your back against the wall and your feet about three feet apart. Then place a ball behind your back, and squat down until your knees are parallel to the floor. Stay in this position for ten seconds and then return to the starting point. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.

6. Knee Stabilization Exercise

This is also one of the effective runner's knee exercises.

  • Use an elastic tubing and tie its one end to your ankle of the uninjured leg. The other end should go around the handle of a door. 
  • Stand with face towards the door and bend the injured knee. Then move the leg behind your body. Repeat 2 sets of 15.
  • You can also turn 90 degrees from the door and move the injured leg away from the body. Repeat 2 sets of 15.

7. Step-Up

  • Stand on a stable floor, with the injured leg on a small elevated support.
  • Then shift the other leg onto the support, and straighten your injured leg on the floor.
  • Do this shift again and 2 sets of 15 are recommended.

Exercises to Prevent Runner’s Knee

1. Hamstring Stretch

To ensure that your knees remain healthy, the supporting structures, namely quads and hamstrings, need to be strong enough to aid the activities of the knee. To achieve this, you can do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet wide apart and interlock the fingers of your hand with each other.
  • Bend over and bring your hands over your head as far as possible while keeping your knees straight.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds before returning back to starting position.

2. Calf Stretch

When it comes to runner’s knee exercises, you should not forget calf stretch.

  • Stand less than a full arm's distance from the wall and step forward towards the wall with one leg.
  • Bend the forward knee while pushing forward with the other leg.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds and then change legs to repeat the same motion.

3. Lateral Stretch

This exercise is for your side muscles which are often neglected during workouts.

  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Then start the lunge by trying to touch the toes of one foot with the fingers of the opposite hand.
  • Do not let your knees wobble too much and keep your chest as upright as possible throughout the entire motion.

4. More Tips to Prevent Runner’s Knee

  • Stay within the recommended weight range for your height so that your knees do not have to do extra work.
  • Always work out using good shoes with the proper support.
  • Increase your work out intensity gradually.
  • Never try to jog on concrete ground, and always use a zigzag pattern while on the way down from steep incline. 
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