The exercises* below are designed to help with the recovery from Hoffa’s syndrome. The aim of the exercises are to stabilise the affected knee, strengthen the muscles surrounding and stabilising the knee and help staying active even during the acute phase of the symptom presentation.
Here are 3 example of useful exercises:
Isometric wall sits: (this exercise can be done at any stage of the recovery), consisting of placing your back, straight, against a wall, with your knees and hips bent approximately around 120 degrees (mild flexion to avoid putting too much weight on the injured knee at a too early stage). Slowly raise the “healthy leg” off the floor to only have your injured side weight bearing, and hold the position for 10-15 seconds. This exercise can be repeated 3 times. The aim is to keep the whole foot on the ground at all times of the exercise and keep it stable. Early in the process of recovery, the leg can be found shaking: it is normal and will eventually stabilise over the weeks as the muscles get stronger.
Wobble board stability: basic exercise consisting of standing, one leg at a time, on a wobble board, with the knee of the leg on the board mildly bent (to unlock the knee joint and make the muscles work more efficiently). Ensure to find your stability, resisting the collapsing of the ankle inwards, or the body weight shift towards the outside, and keeping the big toe involved on the platform at all times. Can be done every 2 days, aiming to work on each leg for approximately 10 mins in total, with an extra 5 mins focus on the “weaker”, affected leg.
Hamstrings curl: lying on your stomach, with your legs fully extended flat on the floor. Bring your heel towards the buttocks, one foot at a time, while maintaining a flexion of your foot in order to only activate the hamstrings (position of dorsiflexion of the ankle). Slowly bring your leg down to the floor in a controlled manner. This exercise can be repeated 10 times for each side, for 2-3 sets. You can add more loading into the hamstrings by attaching an elastic band to your ankle creating a traction effect in the opposite direction of the movement you are performing. The aim of the exercise is to activate and strengthen the hamstrings to take away some of the potential imbalance in the leg muscles activation (quadriceps overdominant on the hamstrings, which means the movement of knee extension, prone to irritating the fat pad, will be dominating over the knee flexion).
*It is recommended to get the go ahead from your physical therapist or GP before carrying out any of these exercises.