Knee & Leg Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Patellofemoral Syndrome Exercises

Here are some quick and easy exercises you can do if you have been diagnosed with Patellofemoral syndrome

Patellofemoral Syndrome occurs when the patella, or kneecap is not tracking properly on the femur, or thigh bone. Runners commonly get this, and it can literally stop them in their tracks. Many times this is caused by weakness in the inner thigh muscles and tightness in the outer thigh muscles, or IT band. The first exercise is going to be a simple straight leg raise (SLR). You want to squeeze your muscles tight to lock out the knee and pull your toes towards your head to keep the whole leg straight. This will work your hip flexor muscles when you lift your leg off the ground. Use slow controlled movements to make sure you are using the muscles and not momentum. Start off with ten, and work your way up.

Next, you are going to lie on your side. The top leg is going to stay straight and pull your toes up towards you. Keep your body in a straight line as well. This is going to work your hip abductor muscles. Then you are going to work the bottom leg working your hip adductor muscles. Same as above, keep the leg straight. The last one of the 4 way hip is going to be on your stomach, and this works your hip extensors. 

Now you are going to work your vastus medialis obliquus (VMO), which is a very important muscle for tracking your patella. You are going to lie on your back again, and perform a SLR, but this time, turn your foot out to the side, or external rotation. Perform they same as you would a SLR. The last stretch is for the IT band. You can check out the IT band stretches video for more in depth stretching. Shown here is one of the many stretches you can do for your IT band. Turn onto your side with the injured leg on top. Pick up your leg and pull it back behind you. Then slowly drop your leg behind you and let it stretch.

 

Shin Splints (Stretching)

If you frequently get shin splints, here are some simple stretches to help prevent or relieve them. Once you have checked this video out, you can watch the shin splint strengthening video to help keep them strong and prevent further injuries.

Shin splints occur very often in runners who are training for long distance running. The tibialas muscles become inflamed and irritated. Most of the time it is your anterior tibialis muscle, the one in the front, but occasionally they can be your posterior tibialis muscle, the one in the back. Make sure to go to a doctor to get evaluated because sometimes you can have a stress fracture instead of shin splints.

Start off by sitting in a long sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes downward as far as you comfortably can. You can add a little pressure to get an extra stretch. For more of a stretch, roll over and flatten your feet in a push up position, and push up on the top of your feet. Then you can try kneeling back onto your feet with your toenails on the floor, and lift up onto your toes as seen in the video.

Now you will see some stretches with a noodle or foam roll. Place the roll on the top of your knee, and roll it down your shin or anterior tibialis. Apply more body pressure to get more of a stretch. Then you can turn over and do the same thing with your calf. Roll down your calf muscle, or gastrocnemius muscle, and apply more body pressure for more of a stretch.

 

Shin Splints (Strengthening)

The key to preventing shin splints is to strengthen your muscles. Check out the stretching video for shin splints first, and then check out this video to keep the lower leg muscles strong to prevent them from happening again.

Start off my propping your ankle up or hang your foot off the bed or table so your heel doesn't touch the floor. Put the band around the ball of your foot for good resistance. First, push your foot down and up. This is called ankle plantarflexion. The next exercise will be standing. Rise up on your toes, and then rock back onto your heels. Hold onto something to start with to keep your balance.

Then you can add some dynamic movement with it, and try walking on your toes and then on your heels. Now you are going to drag your toe forward to strengthen the anterior tibilias muscle. Finally, you can use a step to get extra motion. Put the ball of your foot on the edge of the step, and drop your heel down as far as you can. Then push up as far as you can. If that becomes easy, try one foot at a time. 

 

Hamstring Strengthening Exercises

Here are some simple hamstring strengthening exercises to get your hamstrings stronger.  There are some more advanced hamstring exercises in the Swiss ball exercises once you master these. You may also want to check out the Hamstring Stretching Exercises.

The hamstrings are very important muscles, and they are usually involved with back pain, hip pain, or knee pain. Here are some simple hamstring strengthening exercises to get your hamstrings stronger. Once you master these, there are some more advanced hamstring exercises in the moderate Swiss ball exercises and the advanced Swiss ball exercises. You may also want to check out the Hamstring Stretching Exercises.

To begin these hamstring strengthening exercises, start off on your back for the first exercise. Bend your knees up into a hooklying position. You will do a bridging exercise by pushing your hips up off the ground. If that is easy, you can do the same thing with one leg at a time. Next, you are going to roll over on your stomach. Pull your heel up and back as far as you can to your bottom. Eventually you will want to add ankle weights for more resistance.

The next exercise is standing. Hold onto something to start off with so you can do the correct form. Keep the top part of your leg even with the leg you are standing on. Pull your heel back to your bottom as far as you can without bringing your knee up or flexing your hip. Now you are going to perform a squat. Make sure that your knees do not go in front of your toes. Keep your legs shoulder width apart, and push your butt back like you are going to sit in a chair. Your weight on your feet should be equal all around, not shifted to your toes or to your heels.

Finally, you are going to do a lunge. Again, make sure your knees do not go in front of your toes, and keep your upper body straight. You can see the modified versions of the squats and lunges in the knee strengthening video. 

 

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