Instructions for Single Leg Exercises
Step Up-Down Exercise
Place one foot on the step. Maintain balance, if necessary, by holding onto the wall or chair. Standing sideways to the step, slowly step up onto the step and slowly straighten the knee using the quadriceps muscles. Slowly lower the opposite foot to touch the floor. Do not land on the floor, just touch gently and repeat the step up.
Start with a step of 2 or 3 inches in height. Start with 3 sets of 5 repetitions. Add one repetition per set, per workout, until you can do 3 sets of 10. If pain free, progress the height of step. Repeat progression at new step height, starting with 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
To avoid overstressing the kneecap, limit exercise to step height no greater than the height of a normal stair (8-9inches). At this point, you can begin to add the single leg wall slide exercise. The strength workouts should be practiced 3 times a week (every other day).
Single Leg Wall Slide Exercise
Stand on the single leg with your back and buttocks touching a wall. Place the foot about 6 inches from the wall. Slowly lower your body by bending the knee and slide down the wall until the knee is flexed about 45 degrees (illustration). Pause five seconds and then slowly slide back up to the upright starting position. Keep the hips level and be sure you are using your knee muscles to perform the exercise.
Start with 3 sets of 5 repetitions. Add one repetition per set, per workout, until you can do 3 sets of 10. At this point, you can begin to add the single leg squat exercise.
The strength workouts should continue every other day at the most, with more time between workouts if the knee gets sore after a session. Continue doing the step-up exercise each workout. Alternate the workouts between the single leg wall slide and the single leg squat.
Single Leg Squat Exercise
Stand on one leg and lower your buttocks toward the chair. Slowly return to the standing and starting position. Remember to keep your head over your feet and bend at the waist as you descend. You do not have to squat all the way to the chair, instead, try to stay in a comfortable range of motion where there is no knee pain. As you gain strength, try to do the exercise without holding on to anything.
Start with 3 sets of 5 repetitions. Add one repetition per set, per workout until you can do 3 sets of 10.
After working up to the point where you can do 3 sets of ten of all three drills, you can hold dumbbells to add resistance. Start with 3 pounds in each hand and add 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach 10 pounds in each hand. When you return to sports or recreational activities, decrease the strength workouts to 2 times a week and do 1 set of 10 of each of the three drills only, as a maintenance workout.