Best Stretches & Exercises for Knee Pain Relief

stretching for knee pain relief

Best Stretches & Exercises for Knee Pain Relief

Knee pain can be a debilitating problem, preventing you from comfortably carrying our everyday activities such as walking, exercising, or working. Common causes of knee pain include osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. You may also experience knee pain with overuse or if you have sprained knee ligaments.

The knee is not a bone or muscle but instead is a joint between the knee cap, thigh bone, and shin bone. If you experience knee pain, effective solutions include exercises and stretches targeting the tendons and muscles around your knee.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Knee Muscles

The knee exercises’ objective is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint, which reduces stress and improves range of motion and flexibility. Patients are often apprehensive about exercising a painful knee, but this treatment is critical to prevent the knee from stiffening, which causes the pain to worsen.

Before you do knee exercises, be sure to warm up for at least 10 minutes. The best low-impact warm-up activities are walking and riding a stationary bike. Your exercises should consist of two to three sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

Calf Raises

A standing calf raise is a simple exercise to strengthen your calf muscles.

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your heel by pushing down on the balls of your feet until you stand on your toes.
  3. Lower your heel slowly back to the natural standing position.

You can hold on to the back of a chair or stand next to a wall for balance.

Leg Extensions

Leg extensions strengthen your quadriceps. Ideally, you should only use your body without any additional weights.

  1. Sit in a chair and make sure that you keep your back straight.
  2. Place your feet flat and hip-width apart on the floor in front of you.
  3. Engage your thigh muscles to lift and extend your one leg in front of you. Try to lift your leg as high as possible.
  4. Keep your leg in the lifted position for two seconds before lowering it back to the starting position.

Side Leg Raises

Side leg raises will strengthen your outer thighs and hip abductors, including the gluteus minimus and medius.

  1. Lie on your left side on a mat, keeping your body and legs straight, with your feet on top of each other.
  2. Bend your left arm and use it to lift and support your head. Place your right hand flat in front of your belly.
  3. Raise your right leg as high as you can so you feel your outer thighs working.
  4. Keep your leg in the air for two seconds before lowering it slowly to the starting position.
  5. Do three sets, then switch sides.

Straight Leg Raises

Straight leg raises build strength in your quadriceps and hip flexor muscles.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a mat with one leg extended in front of you and one leg bent.
  2. Engage the quadriceps of your straight leg, and lift it slowly to the same height as your other leg’s bended knee.
  3. Keep your leg in the air for five seconds, then lower it slowly to the ground.

Stretching Exercises

Regular stretches will prevent the muscles surrounding your knees from tightening and improve flexibility. Do these stretches, below, whenever you experience knee pain and before and after doing knee exercises. If the stretches worsen the pain, or if you experience a different pain in your knees, stop stretching and schedule a consultation with us at Advance Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation.

Lying Hamstring Stretch

The lying hamstring stretch alleviates tightness in the muscle that crosses the back of the knee.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a mat while extending your legs
  2. Lift your left leg with a slightly bended knee and place your heel on a wall or chair.
  3. Straighten your leg slowly until you feel the hamstring muscle stretch.
  4. Hold the stretch for at least 10 seconds.

Quadriceps Stretch

A quad stretch loosens your front thigh muscles and improves your hip flexors’ flexibility.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring your foot up toward your glutes.
  3. As your foot comes up, reach back and grab your ankle.
  4. Pull your ankle upward towards your glutes
  5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat the process with your other leg.

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

A lunging hip flexor stretch opens your hips, takes the strain off your quads, and alleviates the pressure on your knees.

  1. Place your right knee on the ground and your left foot flat in front of you. Your thigh should form a parallel line with the floor.
  2. Lean forward with your body to stretch your hip flexor. Tighten your butt muscle to increase the stretch on your hip flexor.

Figure Four Stretch

The figure four stretch relieves tightness in the glutes and takes the pressure off your knees.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a mat with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your left ankle over your right knee while flexing your left foot.
  3. Lift your right knee towards your chest until you feel the stretch in your left glute and hip.
  4. Hold the stretch for two minutes before repeating it on the other side.

Additional Ways to Alleviate Knee Pain

Regular knee exercises and stretches are highly effective in relieving knee pain. However, you can also manage pain in your knees by applying ice or heat to the affected area. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also alleviate minor knee aches.

Contact Advance Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

At Advance Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we provide hands-on care to relieve knee pain, improving your movement and function. Whether your knee injury is the result of a sports injury, car accident, or slip and fall, we can help.

For a professional knee pain treatment in Morganville, NJ, please contact Advance Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation to schedule an evaluation.   

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