Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Patellar Tracking Disorder: Exercises
The thigh muscles (quadriceps) help
keep the kneecap (patella) stable and in place. Weak quadriceps increase the
patellar tracking disorder.
tendons also help stabilize the patella. If these are too tight or too loose,
you have a greater risk of patellar tracking disorder.
of nonsurgical treatment of patellar tracking problems are to reduce
symptoms, increase quadriceps strength and endurance, and return to normal
function. Exercises for patellar tracking disorder are not complicated and can
be done at home in about 20 minutes a day.
Be sure to stay on your exercise program. You may
not notice much improvement in your symptoms right away, and recovery can take
several months. Problems can come back if you don't keep your strength and
Correct diagnosis is of great importance in designing an exercise or
rehabilitation program. The treatment you receive and the exercise program you
use to rehabilitate your knee should be developed specifically for your
condition. Some doctors will recommend using a brace or a taping technique to
keep your kneecap in proper alignment, in addition to an exercise program. Be
sure to closely follow the instructions from your doctor or physical
At first, following an injury or a flare-up of symptoms
of patellar tracking disorder, knee activity should be reduced. Overuse and
trauma are common causes of knee pain. And resting your knee will help relieve
pain. Exercises should begin as the symptoms resolve.
or physical therapist should help you decide what exercises to do. He or she
will probably have you start with one or two exercises and add others over
time. Your physical therapist may use biofeedback during some exercises to help
you learn to contract certain muscles, especially the inner muscle of your
Quad sets and mini squats may be the first exercises that your doctor or physical therapist recommends.
When your doctor or physical therapist thinks your knee is ready, he or she may recommend more intensive exercise.
Note: For straight-leg raise exercises, your physical
therapist may have you add light ankle weights as you become stronger.
Remember to limit the bend of your knee to a 30-degree angle at
first. When your knee is bent past this point, your kneecap will have more
contact with the thighbone, causing more pressure, pain, and possible cartilage
Other Works Consulted
Earl JE, Vetter CS (2007). Patellofemoral pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 18(2007): 439–458.
Joseph RL, et al. (2015). Patellofemoral
syndrome. In WR Frontera et al., eds., Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 3rd ed., pp. 384–388. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Kaplan L, et al. (2007). Patellar maltracking section of Knee injuries. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 92–95. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPatrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.