Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Knees

The Knee and Knee Pain: The Basics

The knee is one of the largest joints of the body and it is also the most complex joints in your body. It is little wonder then that an estimated 20-25 percent of Americans have some sort of knee pain by the time they are middle-aged.

“Pain is associated with a wide range of injury and disease, and is sometimes the disease itself. Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy, or may be conditions in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches. Millions suffer from acute or chronic pain every year and the effects of pain exact a tremendous cost on our country in health care costs, rehabilitation and lost worker productivity, as well as the emotional and financial burden it places on patients and their families” (AAPM).

So many of our day to day activities rely on our knees. We can’t walk, stand, or easily sit even without using our knees. The knees also take a lot of the shock and impact from our activities and bear the bulk of our body weight all day while we stand and walk. When tendons are torn, joints damaged, bones fractured, and nerves pinched, you will feel it, and it will likely keep you off your feet or in a great deal of pain when you do try to move around. Knee pain doesn’t discriminate, young and old alike can suffer from injuries and diseases and health conditions that can damage the knee. That is why we here at the Pain Relief Institute wanted to share five easy yet effective exercises that you can do to strengthen your knees.

Five Exercises to Prevent or Help with Knee Pain

Hamstring Stretch for Knee Pain

How to do it: Lie flat on your back in front of a doorway. Align your hips with the entryway of the door. Keeping one leg straight out on the floor and at the same time put your other leg on the door jam. Make sure you keep a small bend in the knee that is pressing against the door jam. Inch your way forward for a deeper stretch or back if you need less sensation. Hold for a 10-20 count and then switch to the other leg.

Standing Calf Stretch for Knee Pain

How to do it: Stand at the edge of a curb or step, being careful of your balance. You are going to place your left foot flat on the ground a few inches back from the edge. The ball of your right foot should remain on the step. Slowly pull the right heel down, allowing it to drop below the height of the step until you feel a gentle pull in your leg and knee area. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat with the other leg.

Foam Roller Stretch for Knee Pain

How to do it: Lie down on the floor on your right side and place a foam roller so it is positioned just below your right hip. Cross your left leg over and place it on the ground in front of you. With your right hand or forearm anchored on the ground, move your left foot up and push yourself up so the roller moves down and then move your left foot down so the roller moves the other way into the original position. Repeat on other side.

Figure Eight Glute Stretch for Knee Pain

How to do it: Lie down on the floor on a mat or pad. Make sure you are flat on your back with your feet on the floor. You are going to cross your right ankle over your left knee and then reach and clasp your hands so they are secured together behind your left thigh. Then slowly and gently pull up so your left knee begins to move up toward your chest. Hold for a 15 count and then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat for other side.

Straight Leg Raises for Knee Pain

How to do it: Begin this exercise by lying flat on your back. Make sure you have one leg bent and toes resting on the floor with the other extended straight in front of you flat on the floor. Flex your foot and pull your toes toward you, keeping your knee straight. As slowly and controlled as possible, lift your foot roughly six inches off the floor, hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower. Repeat on each side for 10 to 20 reps.

Exercises for Knee Pain: A Word of Advice

Just a reminder: a with any workout designed to strengthen the body, these exercises should be challenging, but they shouldn’t be painful. Don’t push yourself too hard too soon or you can cause more harm than good. If you can only hold a pose for 5 seconds instead of 10, do it for 5 seconds.  Don’t push to do more until you can do the moves without pain or excessive soreness afterwards. It is important to strengthen your knees so they are less prone to injury but you also should be mindful of your own limitations and not cause more injury by trying to do more than you are able to. For help with knee exercises and other workouts to help you keep your entire body in shape, contact our pain management clinic today at the Pain Relief Institute and let us help you live life with less pain! Call our pain management centers in Chicago today for a consultation appointment to get started!