Patellofemoral pain, or pain around the kneecap, is one of the most common types of knee pain we treat at MEND. It impacts up to 23% of the general population and 40% of those people have persistent symptoms that can last for years! Exercise programs targeting the hip and the knee have been proven effective in managing hip and knee pain. Most of the exercise programs studied to date have either not provided sufficient exercise progression to improve strength and power or have not been extended long enough to sustain gains in strength or power (which may result in recurrence of symptoms).
A recent study (Barton et al 2019) reported significant improvements in patellofemoral pain, function and hip muscle capacity with a 12-week progressive strengthening program that can easily be performed at the gym. The key differentiator of this study was that the exercises were progressive – either the challenge of the exercise increased (ie: 2-leg squat to 1-leg squat) or the resistance of the exercise was progressed to ensure participants stayed in a perceived exertion range of 7-9 (which typically means you are only able to perform 1-2 reps in your set).
The exercises included in this study were:
1. Bridging – 3 sets of 12 repetitions
Double to Single leg
2. Hip abduction - 3 sets of 12 repetitions
a. Sidelying to Standing Progression
3. Plank progressions 3 x 60 sec
a. Front and Side Planks
4. Optional quad exercises including squats and single leg squats.
5. Hamstring Strengthening including body weight and machine.
Authors concluded the 12 week progressive resistance training program was safe and effective for improving pain and function in patients with patellofemoral pain. Stay tuned to our social media for an exercise videos.