I hope you didn´t play volleyball to the point of destroying your patellar tracking because this causes a good deal of pain both on and off the court. Well, if your condition is chronic, there are things that you can do to reduce or even remove the pain as well as put your kneecap back on track.
What is jumper´s knee? Read our article about jumper´s knee and prevention exercises.
Remember, first thing you should do is seek medical attention. What may appear to be simple knee pain may actually be something far worse.
Also, if you try these exercises and still find that you suffer from a patellar tracking problem, there are knee braces that force the patellar towards the opposite knee. This action relieves the pain normally associated with patellar tracking problems. However, many medical professionals agree that the best treatment is a regiment of exercises and stretching.
So, what do you do after seeking medical attention? Hopefully, the doc’ has sent you to a physical therapist. If not, well, the first step is to decrease the activity that may be causing the pain. This does not mean cease the activity but reduce the level. Basically, use your own judgment, cut back on activities like biking, running, climbing stairs and rowing machines until the pain goes away. If the pain does not go away seek a physician.
Once your knee pain starts to decrease, try adding flexibility and strength exercises that concentrate on the muscles around the knee:
Hamstring Stretch – Proper hamstring flexibility reduces pressure on the kneecap and consequently the pain. Sit on the ground and extend your legs out in front of you with your knees locked. Bend slowly from the waist and try and touch your toes while keeping your legs straight. Try to bend further with each exhale. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then relax. Repeat the stretch five times.
Calf Stretch – The calf stretch gently stretches the Achilles tendon which is attached to the calf muscles. The calf muscle is connected above the knee and may contribute to knee pain. To stretch this tendon and muscle, place one foot forward, bending at the knees. Keeping your other leg straight and heal on the ground, lean forward on your forward foot bending your knee until you feel the tension in your calf muscle but don’t go so far as to cause pain. Hold for 8-12 seconds and switch legs. You want to do this stretch at least five times with each leg.
Inner Quadriceps Strengthener – Often the problem of kneecap tracking comes from the inner part of the quadriceps muscle not being strong enough to keep the kneecap on track. This part of the muscle, located in front of the thigh and the adductor muscles of the inner thigh need to be strengthened. You can strengthen the inner quadriceps by sitting in a chair and place your foot on a stool or other object so that your leg is about 30 degrees off of horizon. Slowly lift your leg parallel to the floor and hold it there for six to ten seconds. Do not extend your knee past the parallel point or past the point of pain. Do three sets of ten raises for each leg.
Adductor Strengthener – This is my favorite because you get to lie comfortably on your back. Place a pillow between your knees and squeeze the pillow as hard as you can. Hold the squeeze for six to ten seconds. Repeat 10 times.
If you find that your favorite exercise or activity causes you pain until you repair the damage you can replace it with other knee pleasing activities. A great activity is swimming, limiting the type of strokes that do not aggravate the knee. Once the pain decreases try bicycling on a stationary bike or on level streets. Generally, you should increase your activities slowly, taking care not to aggravate the knees. Soon you will be back to your 100%. But, remember, the condition is chronic, you will always have to do these exercises to maintain knee health.