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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Exercises

What is it?

Patellofemoral (pah-tel-oh-FEM-oh-ral) pain syndrome (SIN-drohm) is also called patellar femoral stress syndrome or runner's knee. Runner's knee is when the patella (kneecap) rubs against the end of the femur (thigh bone) as the knee moves. This causes pain. Ask your caregiver for more information about other ways to treat your injury.

Do's and Don'ts:

Caregivers may tell you to remain pain-free as you use your knee more. If your injury does not improve, call your caregiver.


  • Straight Leg Raise:
    Picture of straight leg raise exercise
    Lie on your back with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles on the front of your injured thigh. Lift your leg 6 to8 inches off the floor keeping your knee straight. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly lower. Repeat 20 times.
  • Terminal-Knee Extension:
    Picture of terminal knee extension exercises
    Lie on your back with a 4 to 6 inch rolled towel under your injured knee. Straighten the knee by tightening the muscles on top of your thigh. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly lower. Make sure you keep the bottom of your knee on the rolled towel. Repeat 20 times.
  • Quad Set:
    Picture of quad set exercises
    Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles on top of your thigh by pulling your kneecap towards your hip. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.