Strengthening Exercises for Quadriceps Tendinopathy

Strengthening exercises which may be used as part of a rehabilitation program for quadriceps tendinopathy.

The following is for information only. We recommend seeking professional advice.

Strengthening exercises should begin as soon as pain will allow. If it hurts, don't do it. Also if you find you have more pain in the morning after doing strengthening exercises then you may need to reduce the workload.

Static Contractions

These are simply performed by contacting the Quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh.

  • You can perform them in standing, or in sitting with the knee straight or with a foam roller or rolled up towel under the knee so that the foot lifts off the floor when you contract the quads.
  • An example program might be - contract for 10 seconds, relax for 3 seconds and do 10 repetitions.
  • Rest for a minute and repeat up to five times.
  • Although this exercise is boring it will maintain muscle bulk and ensure you are back to full fitness faster.
  • Continue with this exercise on a daily basis until you are able to perform the eccentric exercises below.

Double Leg Drop Squats

  •  These are performed by moving slowly from a standing position to a squat position and back. The exercises can be progressed by increasing the range of movement the knee goes through and also the speed at which the exercises are done.
  • The aim is to perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions at a speed that causes 'mild' pain in the tendon by the time you reach the last set. It is thought that these exercises stimulate healing far more than simply rest.
  • It is essential that a full stretching sessions take place both before and after these strengthening exercises. The exercises can be performed three times a week.
  • An example of progression might be to start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 30 degrees of movement per second progressing over a period of weeks to 3 sets at 30 degrees per second plus three sets at 50 degrees per second plus a further 3 sets at 70 degrees per second.

Single Leg Drop Squats

  • These are the same as above but using just one leg at a time. Start with the bad leg and then do no more with the good leg than you managed with the bad leg.
  • Again the aim is to produce mild pain in the tendon on the final set of repetitions. This is believed to stimulate the healing process.
  • Following exercises remember to stretch properly.
  • Applying ice for 10 minutes can also help in reducing / preventing inflammation.