Two Simple Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain

The majority of knee pain, particularly amongst runners, is classified as patello-femoral pain.

Patello-femoral pain is characterised by a dull ache, and sometimes sharp pain, under the kneecap. The knee may grate or grind. It becomes worse with use, or if the knee is kept in a bent position for extended periods of time.

Patello-femoral pain is caused by a malalignment of the kneecap—similar to a cars tyres being out of alignment. If the muscle on the inside of the leg is weak, and the band on the outside is tight, the kneecap is pulled laterally (to the side), causing grating under the kneecap. Pelvic instability is also a leading cause.

knee musculature

So if the muscle on the inside of the leg is weak (the vastus medialis obliquus, or VMO), it needs to be strengthened, along with the muscles of the hip (specifically those involved in laterally rotating the femur, or turning the toes out). This can be achieved simply by completing a theraband squat (click for description).

To release the ITB, a thick 'seatbelt-like' band on the outside of the leg, use a foam roller to attack it (click for description). It wont feel good, but your knees will thank you.

Complete these two exercises every day, and balance your 'tyres'.

As 'The Sunscreen Song' tells us, 'Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone'.

Dan Williams
Director - Range of Motion
Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Dan Williams's picture

Dan Williams

Dan Williams is the Founder and Director of Range of Motion. He is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Exercise Scientist with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science. Dan is a CrossFit Coach (at CF Games Level) and four time CrossFit Regionals Athlete.


  1. Ouchies!  That ITB release is a killer but definately worth it. Great advice Dan!

  2. avatar

    Yep, not fun! Check out Range of Motion's Pre- and Post- exercise routines for more mobility ideas.

  3. Theraband squat is a great idea!

    Of course, when doing regular air squats (i.e. with no band), always keep knees "tracking" over toes - that is, avoid your knees "buckling" inwards aka medially. Keeping those knees out keeps adductors and VMO working which combats that dominance of the lateral muscles.

    That's my understanding anyway, I bow to Dan's superior experience here  :D

  4. avatar

    The theraband is a great way to teach the correct muscle recruitment patterns esp. lateral rotators of the femur. When removed, these recruitment patterns remain.

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