Whether you are an athlete, elder, or a regular person, if you are dealing with knee pain it can put a kink in all your activities. Your knee is one of the largest joints in your body and people use it for jumping, running, climbing, etc, which makes it prone to injuries. When you are dealing with knee pain it is most likely to stay in bed as you don’t want to do anything that might trigger your pain or make it worse. However, strengthening exercises for knee pain will help in improving the function of the knee, strengthening it, and decreasing pain. Also, if you are struggling with knee pain due to your weight then exercise will help in losing those extra pounds.
Knee Pain and Exercise
If your knee pain reasons are injury, excess weight, arthritis, or any surgery, then strengthening or gentle stretching will help in relieving pain. It will also improve flexibility and range of motion. These knee pain relief exercises will strengthen the muscles around your knees. The stronger muscles will help in reducing pressure on your knees and help in moving your joints freely. However, it is best to talk to your doctor about which exercise will be the best for you.
Here are the best strengthening exercises for knee pain and what you can avoid.
1. Calf Raises
- Stand tall with your hip-width apart and take the support of a chair or a wall.
- Slowly lift your heels and stand on your toes.
- Hold it there and slowly lower your feet.
- Start with one or two sets at the beginning and then increase it.
This exercise will strengthen your calf muscles and back muscles of the lower leg.
2. Leg Extension
- Sit straight on a chair keeping your feet firm on the floor.
- Contract your thigh muscles and extend your right leg as high as per your comfort. Keep your butt planted firmly on the chair.
- Hold it there and then slowly lower it and repeat it left leg.
- You can do two or three sets of at least eight to ten repetitions of each leg.
If you are suffering from chronic knee pain, this seated exercise will help in strengthening your quadriceps. It also helps in warding off the extra pressure from the knees.
3. Side Leg Raises
- Lie down on one side, keeping your legs stacked upon each other. Support your head with one hand and put your other hand in front of you.
- Now raise your top leg off the floor as high as you can.
- Pause and then slowly lower your leg.
- While you raise your leg, you will feel the stretch on the side of your butt.
- Start slowly with two sets of eight to ten repetitions of each leg.
This exercise strengthens your glutes and hip abductor muscles. Strengthening these muscles will help in preventing and reducing pain in your knees and hips.
4. Straight Leg Raises
- Lie down on your yoga mat to provide you with cushioning.
- Bend your one leg and keep your other leg straight.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged slowly lift your straight leg until it comes in a streamline of your bent knee.
- Hold it there for five seconds and then slowly lower it.
- Repeat it with the other leg. Do at least one to two sets of this exercise of ten repetitions each.
Straight leg raises are an excellent physio exercise for knees. It strengthens your hip flexors and quadriceps muscles.
5. Hamstring Curl
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. It is necessary to take support of a wall or chair.
- Lift your one foot and bend your knees behind your body, lifting your heels off the floor keeping your thigh aligned and butt pointed forward.
- Hold your leg for five seconds and gently lower it.
- Practice two sets of 10 repetitions from each leg.
- Standing hamstring curls stretch and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.
6. Wall Squat
- Stand, keeping your back, hips, shoulder, and head against a wall.
- Now bring your both feet away from the wall, making sure that your back and shoulder are still intact with the wall.
- Now slowly lower your body against the wall until your body comes a little above a normal sitting posture.
- Pause for five seconds and then rise up.
It strengthens your gluteal and quadriceps.
Stretching exercises are highly effective in improving the range of motion and flexibility of your knee. It is important to practice these stretches before and after completing your exercise. So stretching exercises for knee are as follows:
1. Quadriceps Stretch
- Stand tall against a wall or chair, keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your one knee behind your leg and raise it towards your butt.
- Grab your ankle and pull it towards your hips as per your comfort.
- Hold it for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat it with another leg.
Quadriceps stretch focuses on stretching your quad muscles, which are your front thigh muscles. Practicing this stretch increases flexibility in your quadriceps and hip flexors.
2. Heel and Calf Stretch
- Stand in front of a wall and place your hand on it.
- Now bring one leg in front of another. Your toes should be pointed forward and your heels flat on the floor. Keep a slight bend in your front knee.
- Lean forward and you will feel a stretch in your back leg. Pause for 30 seconds and then repeat.
- Switch and repeat it with another leg.
This stretch is great for stretching your calf and back muscles of the lower leg.
Worst Exercise for Aching Knees
One should avoid the below-mentioned exercises if they have chronic knee pain.
- Deep squats
- Full arc knee extension
- Hurdler’s stretches
Tips one should follow during Workouts
- Warm-up before exercise: It loosens your tight muscles and improves blood circulation.
- Wear correct shoes: Wearing good shoes will support your workout and lessen the burden on your knee. Change your workout shoes after six months or one year.
- Cross-train: Make sure to change your exercise routine regularly to work on varied muscles. It will prevent injuries.
Knee pain has become a common ailment. If your joint pain is due to a medical condition, it is better to consult with your doctor before starting any routine. Performing the above-mentioned exercise will help in strengthening your knee muscles and alleviate knee pain.