Top 10 Knee Pain Exercises
Before delving in and applying the different knee pain exercises discussed thoroughly in this list, let us first discuss and understand a simple anatomy lesson of the knees. The knee joint is actually one of the toughest joints in the body for supporting basically your whole body weight and providing stability and balance at the same time, allowing a wide range of movements. This, however, makes it also vulnerable to injuries. The knee joint is composed of four bones that work all together making various types of movement possible. These four bones are femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and the tibia (shin bone) and fibula which are located in the lower part of your leg.
Now unless there is a direct impact causing a knee injury, weak muscles and ligaments that surround the joint also cause instability, thus leading to knee pain and tension. Reinforcing and stabilizing these muscle groups will fortify your knee and lessen the knee pain, in addition to improving its flexibility and your range of motion. Along with leading a balanced and nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle, following and maintaining these simple, uncomplicated, and low-impact knee pain exercises will surely let you do just that. Although, of course, it is of utmost importance to consult your doctor especially when nothing seems to improve despite an earnest effort on your part.
Top 10 Knee Pain Exercises
Wall Squats or Wall Slides
One of the easiest knee pain exercises is the wall squats or slides, which can be effective in strengthening your quadriceps or your thighs, along with the ligaments and tissues above your knee. Simply follow these procedures:
- Stand with your back leaning one and a half foot against the wall.
- Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself, or slide down the wall, until you are in a squat position. Hold this for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Gradually return to the starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times.
- You can challenge yourself by holding the squat longer. Also, you can reposition your feet just a little bit further from the wall to avoid sliding down below your knees or letting it go down beyond your toes, as this may cause more strain.
Like other knee pain exercises, wall squats will keep your joints free from strain as they absorb pressure during your workouts.
Standing Hamstring Curls
There really is no great difference between these two knee exercises, perhaps just the name. Applying the same principle, these knee pain exercises augment the hamstrings in your thigh and the tissues behind your knee. Do the following:
- Upon standing straight, use the back of a chair as a support on which you can hold onto. Bend one knee and lift your foot as far as you can toward your glutes or buttocks.
- Have your knee always pointed down during the entire movement and your upper body straight. Hold it there for at least 5 seconds. Then switch side and have at least 10 repetitions each. Challenge yourself by adding ankle weights to increase the effectiveness of the working leg as you get more at ease with the exercise.
Clam Shell Exercise and Abductor Raises
These two knee pain exercises can be done simultaneously without changing your position.
- For the clamshell exercise, lie on your side with your one arm propping your head up. With your hips at 45 degrees, bend your knees at 90 degrees with one on top of the other.
- Keeping your toes together, carefully lift your top leg and repeat the process for 10 to 15 reps on each leg. Notice how your glutes are engaged in this exercise.
Clamshell actually alleviates the extra pressure of the knee by strengthening the glutes since an added load is taken by the leg muscles and thus, knee joints when glute muscles are weakened.
- For the abductor raise, lie in the same position but this time, your legs should be straight and not bent. Slowly lift the top leg away from the mat, keeping it straight as possible. You can slightly bend the lower leg for additional balance and support.
- Hold it there for 10 seconds, lower it down, then repeat for 15 repetitions, at each leg. You can add some ankle weight once you become more effective at it.
This knee exercise technically reinforces the abductor muscle group essential for your thigh movement and regulates the flexibility and stability of the legs, and thus helping the knee.
Seated Straight-leg Raises
Among the knee pain exercises, this one could get quite strenuous. By helping stimulate and improve the strength of the quad muscles, your knees will be free from strain or any pressure.
- Sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair with your back fully supported.
- Keeping the other leg bent and your foot flat on the floor, lift one leg straight out in front of you as high as you can and for as long as you can handle.
- After lowering your leg, pull your toes toward the direction of your body, keeping your legs and your knees straight. Repeat the steps with the other one.
- For an alternate position, try lying on the floor flat on your back.
- Repeat the steps of lifting one leg half a ruler off the floor, holding it for as long as you can, pulling your toes toward you afterward, then switching side for at least 10 reps.
- You can further raise your leg for up to 90 degrees off the floor or add in weights once you become stronger for this particular knee exercise.
Stationary bike strengthens the hamstrings in your thigh along with the ligaments in your knee. It also intensifies the range of motion you can have minus the impact.
- To efficiently bike in safety, make sure your seat is at an appropriate height as your hips will quaver or your knees and muscles might get injured when it’s too high or too low, respectively. It can also affect your range of motion.
- Your goal when starting is 10 minutes each day at light resistance, increasing the duration every day. Maintain a 15-degree angle with your knee and an almost straight leg when you step at the pedal stroke.
When choosing an appropriate stationary bike for your knee pain exercises, make sure it’s knee-friendly. Recumbent stationary bikes, for example, free your knee joints from an added weight you get when you’re sitting upright. Even an elliptical bike stationary can be used as it doesn’t really cause stress to your knee joints.
Bridging Exercise/Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are among the most amazing knee pain exercises that involve the entire lower half of your body. It does not only strengthen your core but your hamstrings, quads, and glutes as well. This will relieve knee pain and pressure in the joints, all the while augmenting the stability of knee during workouts.
- Start the exercise by lying on your back on the floor or on your bed with your feet and your hips flat on the ground. Both your knees should be bent at 90 degrees.
- Contract your buttocks together with your abdomen and slowly lift your butt upwards as high as you can for 3 to 5 seconds. Do not arch your back.
- Lower yourself then repeat it for 10 to 15 reps.
You can increase the intensity, once you’re at ease with it, by extending one leg at a time.
Calf Raise Exercise
One of the simplest knee exercises you can perform effortlessly to address your knee pain is calf raise exercise. It is basically a heel raise that supports your knees from the bottom, specifically aiding their strength and mobility, while reinforcing the stabilizer muscles surrounding your knee due to the balancing act. Simply follow the steps:
- Use can either stand to face and touching lightly a wall or a chair to balance yourself. Make sure to keep your feet apart the same width as your shoulder.
- Slowly rise up onto your tippy toes without leaning forward for 2 seconds before lowering back. Repeat this simple steps 20 times or more.
When you’re already getting the hang of it, you can try performing the exercise with only one leg or with light weights added on you.
Seated Knee Marching/Knee Marches
One of the effort-free knee exercises you can perform at work or in your home, practically anywhere so long as you have a chair to which you can sit on, is knee marches. Similar to straight-leg raises—aside from being too demanding plus the chair—this simple workout fortifies your quad muscles and increases the flexibility of your knees.
- After sitting straight and tall in a chair, properly keep both your feet flat on the floor. Placing your hands on top of the lifting knee or on the edge of the chair, slowly lift one leg up pointing your knee toward your chest. Remember to keep the knee bent.
- When you lower it down and switch sides, doing so in at least 20 repetitions, it will seem like you are marching high while seated.
The good thing about this exercise is that it doesn’t add so many loads on the knees.
Some knee pain exercises have similarities. Quadriceps stretch is no different; basically quite the same steps as “hamstring curls”. Simply follow these steps:
- Standing straight and tall, grab your right (or left) ankle from behind and pull it up toward your glutes or buttocks. Notice the feeling of your front leg being pulled.
- Hold it there for half a minute before repeating it at least 3 times and alternating sides.
- For an alternate position, lie on one side, keeping your lower leg straight. Repeat the process of grabbing the ankle of your upper leg from behind and toward your buttocks. Feel the stretch in your quad.
- Hold the position for the same duration before switching sides.
Half-Kneel Hip and Quad Stretch/Kneeling Quad Stretch
This dynamic knee routine relieves the tension in your hips and knees and offers a comprehensive support for your knee strength. It also loosens up the quad muscles by overextending it, enhancing its flexibility in the process.
- Start by kneeling on one knee. The opposite foot should be flat on the floor in front of you.
- Grab and pull your back foot from behind and toward your butt. Hold the position for half a minute before you switch sides and repeat the process.
Knee pain can get tough and debilitating sometimes, especially when it happens when performing one of your daily activities. Now if you think maintaining an active lifestyle seems impossible already due to your knee pain, the truth is, you can still move and enjoy life albeit in limitations. Follow these simple yet effective knee pain exercises every day to strengthen your knees and help ease the pain. Also, don’t forget to consult your doctor especially when it seems to worsen over time.