Best Exercises for Quadriceps Tendonitis

exercises for quadriceps tendonitis

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes read

If you’ve ever had a nagging pain on the top of your knee, it could be quadriceps tendonitis!

Quadriceps tendonitis is a common overuse injury that can cause pain and inflammation where the quadriceps muscles and tendons connect at the top of the knee.

Too much standing, walking, running, jumping or squatting can be possible reasons behind developing this condition.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to fix this knee pain.

Exercises for Quadriceps Tendinitis

Gentle exercise targeting the quadriceps in the front of the thigh can be very beneficial. The key is don’t over-do it!

The exercises we’ll talk about are a nice, easy way to stimulate your quadriceps, without making them angrier.

1. Quad Set

Exercise to fix Quadriceps Tendonitis: Quat Set step 1
Exercise to fix Quadriceps Tendonitis: Quat Set step 2
  • Position yourself on the floor, couch or bed with the injured leg stretched out in front of you.
  • Gently squeeze the quadriceps muscles by trying to actively press the back of the knee down towards the surface.
  • Hold this squeeze for up to 5 second, then relax.
  • Repeat 10-15x for 2-3 sets.

2. Long Arc Quad

Long Arc Quad step 1
Long Arc Quad step 2
  • Sit nice and tall in a chair with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Kick the foot on the injured leg up off the floor, allowing the knee to fully straighten.
  • Hold for up to 5 seconds, then return to your starting position.
  • Repeat 10-15x for 2-3 sets.

Tip: If this becomes too easy, you can add a light ankle weight (2-3#) or tie a light resistance band around the ankles for an added challenge.

3. Mini Squat

Mini squat step 1
Mini squat step 2

This is a very easy way to re-train your ability to move into a squatting position without irritating the quadriceps.

  • Stand tall with the feet about hip width apart.
  • Allow the hips to sit back towards the heels as the knees bend to a 30-degree angle.
  • Hold for 2 seconds, then return to your starting position.
  • Repeat 10-15x for 2-3 sets.

4. Supine Quadriceps Stretch

Supine Quadriceps Stretch
  • Strap a non-elastic strap around the foot on the injured side.
  • Lying down on the edge of your bed, allow the injured leg to hang off the bed.
  • Keep the opposite knee bent and the foot flat on the bed to support the back.
  • Use the strap to gently pull the foot towards the bed until you feel a stretch in the front of the thigh.
  • Hold 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice.


Home treatment for quadriceps tendonitis pain

The R.I.C.E. method is a great tool to help with quadriceps tendonitis pain. Let’s review the basics of this.

Make sure to REST the injured area. You want to move around a little bit, but don’t move around and do so much that your pain gets worse.

ICE! Ice is a great tool to help reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. You can ice up to 30 minutes at a time. Make sure to take at least a 30-minute break before icing again.

COMPRESSION is another useful tool to help with pain, inflammation and swelling. You could utilize a knee sleeve or ACE wrap for compression. The compression should feel snug, but not like a tourniquet.

ELEVATE the leg as often as able. This will also help to reduce swelling and inflammation.


A gentle, therapeutic massage can be a great way to help recover from quadriceps tendonitis.

It will help to promote healthy blood flow and relaxation to the injured area.

Always make sure to tell a massage therapist about any injuries you’re recovering from to best help you recover.

A nice combination to try is a self-massage of the quadriceps at home, followed by the Supine Quadriceps Stretch we talked about.

You can get creative with what you use for a self-massage. You could roll a tennis ball over the muscle, or use a foam roller or even a baking pin to massage it out.

Practice this self-massage for 5-10 minutes, then follow it up with the Supine Quadriceps Stretch.

Here’s a video demo to show this sequencing!

Ease Your Way Back Into Your Routine

As you start to feel better, it can be tempting to jump right back into your normal daily and workout routine.

Resist the temptation!

Make sure to gradually begin resuming your prior activity level. Otherwise, you’ll end up back at square 1!

Take things slow and make sure to try the tips recommended in this article.

You’ll get rid of that nasty quadriceps tendonitis in no time!

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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