4. IT Band Release
The iliotibial (IT) band is a ligament that runs down the outer edge of the thigh from hip to shin. It is attached to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint, and when inflamed, can pull the kneecap out of alignment.
- Lie on the side you want to release and place a foam roller under your bottom leg, halfway between your hip and knee.
- Slide your leg up and down over the foam roller, moving it from the top of the knee to the base of the hip. Try to work over the more tender areas as much as you can tolerate.
- Repeat in 30-second intervals for 2 minutes.
3. Inner Thighs Squat
The inner thigh is often weaker than the top part of the quad muscle. To strengthen it and keep knee pain away, Reavy recommends inner thigh squats.
- Place your feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle, keeping the weight on your heels.
- As you begin to squat, bring your hips back as if you’re trying to sit in a chair that’s too far behind you.
- While squatting, move your knees out to the sides and go as low as you can–though no lower than a 90-degree angle–and push back up through your heels.
- Do three sets of 15.
2. Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) Activation
The VMO, the tear-drop shaped quad muscle that runs along the inside of the kneecap, is often one of the weaker muscles on the thigh, said Reavy. To realign the kneecap, the only way is to strengthen it.
- Stand in a split stance, keeping all your weight in your front leg.
- Squat straight down, stopping halfway. Your front knee should stay directly over your ankle.
- While squatting, twist your front leg to the right, and hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Release and rise up, pushing through the balls of your feet.
- Do three sets of 15 on each leg.