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Simple Stretch for Anterior Knee Pain

Do you have anterior (front-sided) knee pain?  If this pain came on gradually without any known cause or obvious trauma/injury, you may benefit from a very basic course of treatment.  Assuming there is no specific derangement of the cartilage, ligaments, and tendons in and around your knee, you may get fairly rapid relief simply by doing some stretching to the muscles on the front side of your thigh called the quadriceps.

If you have pain with walking stairs or hills, squatting, prolonged sitting, or prolonged weight-bearing activities that is present right around your knee cap, try this stretch (pictured) for a few days in addition to limiting, modifying, or eliminating any specific activities that seem to aggravate your symptoms.

To perform this stretch, stand up nice and tall and simply bend your knee up far enough to allow you to grab your foot behind you.  Ensure that the foot remains directly behind your buttock muscles and does not get pulled out to the side of you hip.  Keep your knee below your hip (not in front of it), right next to your other knee.  If no stretch is felt, then move your knee even further back, thereby extending your hip some without leaning forward.

Trial doing this stretch for a 30 second hold, two times.   Perform this sequence 2-3 times daily as long as it remains comfortable.

If you are unable to grab your foot, or if this position causes pain—this method of stretching is not for you!  There are many other methods that a physical therapist from Omaha Physical Therapy Institute can show you.

If no benefit is received from this stretch, or certainly if this stretch causes pain or you are unable to perform it for other reasons, you may benefit from further assessment by a physical therapist.  The physical therapists at Omaha Physical Therapy Institute are very well-versed in managing knee pain and are here to help you in your time of need!

Matt Vetter, PT, DPT, CSCS

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