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Jumper's Knee Exercises

You can do the first 4 exercises right away. When you have less pain in your knee, you can do the remaining exercises.

  • Standing hamstring stretch: Put the heel of the leg on your injured side on a stool about 15 inches high. Keep your leg straight. Lean forward, bending at the hips, until you feel a mild stretch in the back of your thigh. Make sure you don't roll your shoulders or bend at the waist when doing this or you will stretch your lower back instead of your leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  • Quadriceps stretch: Stand an arm's length away from the wall with your injured leg farthest from the wall. Facing straight ahead, brace yourself by keeping one hand against the wall. With your other hand, grasp the ankle of your injured leg and pull your heel toward your buttocks. Don't arch or twist your back. Keep your knees together. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Side-lying leg lift: Lie on your uninjured side. Tighten the front thigh muscles on your injured leg and lift that leg 8 to 10 inches away from the other leg. Keep the leg straight and lower it slowly. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Straight leg raise: Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend the knee on your uninjured side and place the foot flat on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscle on your injured side and lift your leg about 8 inches off the floor. Keep your leg straight and your thigh muscle tight. Slowly lower your leg back down to the floor. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Prone hip extension: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and tighten your abdominal muscles. Tighten the buttocks and thigh muscles of the leg on your injured side and lift the leg off the floor about 8 inches. Keep your leg straight. Hold for 5 seconds. Then lower your leg and relax. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Clam exercise: Lie on your uninjured side with your hips and knees bent and feet together. Slowly raise your top leg toward the ceiling while keeping your heels touching each other. Hold for 2 seconds and lower slowly. Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
  • Step-up: Stand with the foot of your injured leg on a support 3 to 5 inches high (like a small step or block of wood). Keep your other foot flat on the floor. Shift your weight onto the injured leg on the support. Straighten your injured leg as the other leg comes off the floor. Return to the starting position by bending your injured leg and slowly lowering your uninjured leg back to the floor. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Wall squat with a ball: Stand with your back, shoulders, and head against a wall. Look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your feet 3 feet from the wall and shoulder's width apart. Place a soccer or basketball-sized ball behind your back. Keeping your back against the wall, slowly squat down to a 45-degree angle. Your thighs will not yet be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 10 times. Build up to 2 sets of 15.
  • Knee stabilization: Wrap a piece of elastic tubing around the ankle of your uninjured leg. Tie a knot in the other end of the tubing and close it in a door at about ankle height.
    1. Stand facing the door on the leg without tubing and bend your knee slightly, keeping your thigh muscles tight. Stay in this position while you move the leg with the tubing straight back behind you. Do 2 sets of 15.
    2. Turn 90 degrees so the leg without tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing away from your body. Do 2 sets of 15.
    3. Turn 90 degrees again so your back is to the door. Move the leg with tubing straight out in front of you. Do 2 sets of 15.
    4. Turn your body 90 degrees again so the leg with tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing across your body. Do 2 sets of 15.

    Hold onto a chair if you need help balancing. This exercise can be made more challenging by standing on a firm pillow or foam mat while you move the leg with tubing.

  • Resisted terminal knee extension: Make a loop with a piece of elastic tubing by tying a knot in both ends. Close the knot in a door at knee height. Step into the loop with your injured leg so the tubing is around the back of your knee. Lift the other foot off the ground and hold onto a chair for balance, if needed. Bend the knee with tubing about 45 degrees. Slowly straighten your leg, keeping your thigh muscle tight as you do this. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15. If you need an easier way to do this, stand on both legs for better support while you do the exercise.
  • Decline eccentric squat: Stand with both feet on an angled platform or with your heels on a 3-inch-high board. Put all of your weight on your injured leg and squat down to a 45-degree angle. Use your other leg to help you return to a standing position from the squat. You should lower your body to a squat using only your injured leg but you can use both legs to return to standing. When this exercise gets easy, hold weights in your hands to make the exercise more difficult. Do 2 sets of 15.
Written by Tammy White, MS, PT, and Phyllis Clapis, PT, DHSc, OCS, for RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-08-10
Last reviewed: 2010-11-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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