What Muscles Should I Strengthen?
Pain in the front of your knee or under your kneecap is often called patellofemoral pain. You may feel this pain after exercising or when you sit too long. The pain may be a nagging ache or an occasional sharp twinge. Because the pain is around the front of your knee, treatment has traditionally focused on the knee itself and may include taping or bracing the kneecap, or patella, and/or strengthening the thigh muscle the quadriceps that helps control your kneecap to improve the contact area between the kneecap and the thigh bone, or femur, beneath it.
However, recent evidence suggests that strengthening your hip muscles can also help. The theory is that strong hip muscles can decrease the stress in your knee. A study published in the January 2018 provides new insights and evidence-based suggestions on how to strengthen your entire leg to decrease your knee pain and help you return to full activity.
KNEE AND HIP MUSCLES. Knee pain that is in the front of your knee or under your kneecap is often called patellofemoral pain (A). Strengthening exercises for patellofemoral pain have historically focused on the muscles in the front of your thigh, the quadriceps muscles, because they help track the movement of the kneecap (B). There is now evidence that stronger hip muscles can help lessen the stress under the kneecap, indicating that it is best to strengthen both the knee and hip muscles to avoid the movement shown here, which can cause knee pain (C).