Stretching is the best way to strengthen the knees. One of the significant factors related to overuse injuries is rigid muscles. Athletes should pay careful attention to stretching of the muscles around the knee and hip regions; giving more concentration to:
- Hip flexors
- Calf muscles
Pulling should be done progressively for 30 seconds, and it should be repeated for 3 to 4 times.
Doing some fundamental strengthening exercises can help reduce the anterior knee pain. Do the following exercises to lessen the pain:
- 4 Way Straight Leg Raises: Lying on the back and tightening the thigh muscles, straighten the injured leg. Let the straightened leg be raised to 12 to 18 inches and lowered down to starting position. Now, shift the lying position onto one side and repeat the straight leg raising and lowering in this position. Again shift to the lying on stomach position and repeat. The same exercise has to be done lying on the other side. It should be done for ten to fifteen times in all the four positions.
- Wall Slides: Lean against the wall and place the feet approximately 2 1/2 shoe lengths away from the wall and placing a ball (soccer, basketball, volleyball) between the knees, slide down the wall till knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 5 seconds, and carry out three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
- Step Downs: Stand on a 3 to 4 inch higher bench or step on the injured leg. Slowly bend the injured knee until the opposing heel touches the ground, after returning to the original position. Carry out the three sets repeating for ten to fifteen times.
Performing these exercises once or twice per day can reduce the symptoms and get you back in action. Flexibility and strength will get better with a little persistence and dedication to avoiding and taking care of overuse injuries.