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The thigh muscles (quadriceps) help
keep the kneecap (patella) stable and in place. Weak quadriceps increase the
patellar tracking disorder.
tendons also help stabilize the patella. If these are too tight or too loose,
you have a greater risk of patellar tracking disorder.
of nonsurgical treatment of patellar tracking problems are to reduce
symptoms, increase quadriceps strength and endurance, and return to normal
function. Exercises for patellar tracking disorder are not complicated and can
be done at home in about 20 minutes a day.
Be sure to stay on your exercise program. You may
not notice much improvement in your symptoms right away, and recovery can take
several months. Problems can come back if you don't keep your strength and
Correct diagnosis is of great importance in designing an exercise or
rehabilitation program. The treatment you receive and the exercise program you
use to rehabilitate your knee should be developed specifically for your
condition. Some doctors will recommend using a brace or a taping technique to
keep your kneecap in proper alignment, in addition to an exercise program. Be
sure to closely follow the instructions from your doctor or physical
At first, following an injury or a flare-up of symptoms
of patellar tracking disorder, knee activity should be reduced. Overuse and
trauma are common causes of knee pain. And resting your knee will help relieve
pain. Exercises should begin as the symptoms resolve.
or physical therapist should help you decide what exercises to do. He or she
will probably have you start with one or two exercises and add others over
time. Your physical therapist may use biofeedback during some exercises to help
you learn to contract certain muscles, especially the inner muscle of your
Quad sets and mini squats may be the first exercises that your doctor or physical therapist recommends.
When your doctor or physical therapist thinks your knee is ready, he or she may recommend more intensive exercise.
Note: For straight-leg raise exercises, your physical
therapist may have you add light ankle weights as you become stronger.
Remember to limit the bend of your knee to a 30-degree angle at
first. When your knee is bent past this point, your kneecap will have more
contact with the thighbone, causing more pressure, pain, and possible cartilage
Other Works Consulted
Earl JE, Vetter CS (2007). Patellofemoral pain.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 18(2007): 439–458.
Hudgins T (2008). Patellofemoral syndrome. In WR Frontera et al., eds., Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation, 2nd ed., pp. 371–374. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Kaplan L, et al. (2007). Patellar maltracking section
of Knee injuries. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 92–95. New York:
November 18, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
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