When I had patellar tendonitis, I tried many different stretches even though I’m not a fan of stretching. It’s boring, it’s uncomfortable, and it makes me feel guilty when I neglect it. On top of that, most of the stretches didn’t work and felt like a waste of time.
- Was very easy to do
- Could be practiced everywhere without anyone noticing
- Greatly reduced my knee soreness
This is one of the most helpful stretches for patellar tendonitis and I still do it today.
Why This Stretch Works
Before we get to the stretch, let’s talk about why it works.
Several muscles cross the knee on the backside of the body. The gastrocnemius in the calves is among those muscles. If the gastrocnemius is overly tight, the muscles on the front of the knee, the quadriceps, have to work harder to extend the knee.
A lot of the force exerted by the quads is directed through the patellar tendon. So if the quads have to work harder to extend the knee, the patellar tendon is also exposed to more stress than necessary, which is why tight calves contribute to patellar tendonitis pain.
If the calves are tight, it’s like there is a tug of war between the calves and the quadriceps muscles, with the patellar tendon right in the middle. By stretching the calves, we can take stress off the patellar tendon, so let’s do it…
The Curb Stretch
There are many different calf stretches out there, but not one of them is as convenient and effective as the curb stretch. To do this stretch, you need two things: 1) a pair of shoes with a solid sole and 2) a curb of some kind.
I can do this stretch in minimalist footwear as long as the soles are somewhat thick. This is what it looks like:
How to Do the Curb Stretch
To do the curb stretch, you stand with the balls or toes of your feet on the curb and then lower your heels to the ground. Try to stand as straight as possible and completely lock out your knees. You should feel the stretch in your calves as you start to lean forward. Stay in this position for around two minutes.
Keep your feet parallel and point your knees forward. The weight should be on the outside ridge of your feet and their balls.
Experiment with different curb heights. Some curbs are too high, while others are too low. By placing your heels closer or farther away from the curb you can usually make it work.
My Experience with the Curb Stretch
I first tried this stretch many years ago when I was still playing basketball several days per week. I noticed that my knees would feel much better after games, if I included this stretch in my warm up routine.
When combined with thorough self-massage, the result were even better.
Heal Your Patellar Tendon with the Curb Stretch
Try the curb stretch today and let me know how it goes in the comments below. Additionally, please share other stretches you tried for patellar tendonitis and which ones you found most effective.