Exercises for Patellar Tracking Disorder
If you have patellar tracking disorder, or a dislocated knee, symptoms likely include pain in your knee, especially when sitting for long periods, squatting or going down stairs. Your knee may also buckle, grind or pop. Typically stretching and strengthening exercises are enough to treat patellar tracking disorder, but if you try to do exercises too soon, you can make the condition worse. Start exercising only after symptoms go away and your doctor gives you a go-ahead.
The best strengthening exercises are mild at first to prevent further injury. These include only isometric exercises for your quads and straight leg raises. Eventually, you can move on to more difficult exercises. To perform an isometric quad exercise, sit on a firm bed with a rolled towel beneath your injured knee with your leg straight. Rest your other foot on the floor next to your towel with your knee bent. Press down against the bed to contract your thigh muscles, and hold for 10 seconds.
Straight Leg Raises
The straight leg raise is slightly harder than the isometric quad exercise. To perform a straight leg raise for your quads, lie on your back with your injured leg straight and your uninjured leg bent, your foot resting on the floor or mattress. Lift the injured leg straight toward the ceiling about 12 to 18 inches. Once you are ready and your doctor agrees, you can advance to more challenging exercises like using a leg press machine.
Your physician may recommend other strengthening exercises for areas around your hips and knees, such as your inner thighs, outer thighs and glutes. These muscles stabilize your knee, so if one area is weak, it creates an opportunity for your patella to move out of alignment. An example of these exercises include the inner thigh lift with chair.
To perform this exercise, lie on your right side and rest the inside of your left foot on a chair. Your right leg should be straight and directly beneath your other leg. TRaise your right leg toward the bottom of the seat. This strengthens your right inner thigh. Do this on the left side instead if your left knee was dislocated.
Stretching exercises for the muscles and tendons surrounding your knee joint release tension that contributes to pulling your patella out of alignment. Every day you need to stretch your quads, hamstrings, iliotibial band and Achilles tendon. To stretch your quads, stand holding the back of a chair for balance and then bend your injured knee to raise your heel toward your glutes. Use your hand on the same side to pull your heel toward you and increase the stretch. Do not allow your knee to move outwards. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Kaiser Permanente: How Do I do Exercises for Patellar Tracking Disorder?
- Cigna: Patellar Tracking Disorder
- Cigna: Patella Tracking Disorder: Exercises
- Katz JN, Brophy RH, Chaisson CE, et al. Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(18):1675–1684. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1301408
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Knee exercises. Updated February, 2009.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Knee arthroscopy exercise guide. Updated February, 2017.
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.