What exercises reduce knock knees?

Therapeutic Associates

I’ve noticed my legs curve inward at the knee and have recently been experiencing some pain under my kneecap that is keeping me from some of the activities I usually participate in. My friend said it’s called knock knees and that I should go to physical therapy, but I wonder if there are any exercises that I can do at home to reduce my knock knees? Will this go away on its own?

Disclaimer: Please note, this reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.

Things to Know

  • “Knock knees” can cause irritation at the joint, leading to pain under the kneecap.
  • Knocks knees and patellofemoral pain is usually more of a hip, ankle and foot issue than a knee issue.
  • Weak or imbalanced hip muscles often lead to faulty knee tracking and increased pronation of the limbs.
  • A PT can identify the cause of your issue and provide customized therapy as well as an individualized exercise program.

Thanks for reaching out.

While we cannot make specific recommendations regarding your case without doing a thorough evaluation, we can offer some general information that may be helpful for you. 

In general, knock knees refers to the position of the knees being closer to the body’s midline. There can be a couple reasons for this to happen. Some people have structural differences in their bones and joints that affect how the hips, knees and ankles are aligned. The kneecap sits in a small groove along the femur. Improper mechanics at the foot or the hip can cause the knee to collapse or dive inward with each step. Additionally, muscle weakness in the hips and feet can lead to imbalance that puts the knee in a position that prohibits it from lining up properly with the femoral groove and contribute to knock knees.

The kneecap pain you are experiencing is likely patellofemoral pain syndrome

While there are some things you can do at home, a licensed physical therapist is the ideal medical provider to assist with your condition. A PT may determine you would benefit from taping for proper knee position, and will often utilize hands-on manual therapy for mobilization. As musculoskeletal experts, PTs can create customized exercise programs that are designed specifically for you to increase strength and flexibility in a way that will help in decreasing a knock knee pattern.

At home, focus on building strength in the hips and feet. In general, exercises that strengthen the muscles that turn the knees out are useful in helping correct knee position in people with knock knees.

For more specific ideas for correcting knock knees and preventing patellofemoral pain, check out this blog on our website, which includes video instructions for how to do a hip hike and a runners’ march

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