Effective Exercises for People with Knee Pain

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If you suffer from knee pain, finding the right exercises to help alleviate discomfort and strengthen the surrounding muscles is crucial. While it\’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen, there are several low-impact options that can be beneficial for those with knee pain.

Other than the quads, the hamstrings, glutes and other small muscles in the hips and upper leg all play a role in keeping your knees happy. Physical therapy is a great tool to help you improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Your doctor may recommend some of these exercises as part of your knee surgery recovery.

Here, learn more about why NOT exercising is one of the worst things you can do for your knees. Then, try some of our physical therapists’ favorite knee exercises to build strong, resilient knees for life. Start by lying on your side with both hips and knees bent toward your belly.

When you can do this exercise easily, you can make it tougher by holding small hand weights. If you don\’t have a step platform, you can use a stair step. Bringing your hips up and down again is one repetition.

With both feet, step two feet forward away from the wall, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Step exercises, also known as step-ups, involve using a platform at least 6 inches high. To perform the exercise, you will put one foot onto the platform and use that leg to lift your other foot off the floor. If you are not yet flexible enough to go all the way down, bend until you are comfortable but can still feel a good amount of stretch in the hamstring. You will need a chair with a high back to hold onto for balance to perform standing hamstring curls.

Weight training and resistance exercises are good, but you must do them with good form, he says. Walking also is helpful, Stewart says, as is swimming or aqua aerobics. After exercising any muscle group, it is important to stretch the muscles.

The specific injury or underlying condition you’re trying to improve also plays a significant role. Place a foam roller under your right leg, right under your quad. Put the majority of your body weight on your leg and roll slowly. Instead of simply rolling up and down, roll your leg from side to side too, focusing pressure on the tighter spots in your muscles.

1. Walking

Walking is a simple yet effective form of exercise for people with knee pain. It helps improve flexibility, strength, and overall joint health. Start with short distances and gradually increase your walking time as your endurance builds. Be sure to wear supportive footwear to reduce strain on your knees.

2. Swimming

Swimming is another excellent option for individuals with knee pain. The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on your joints while providing a full-body workout. Try incorporating different strokes to engage various muscle groups and improve overall fitness.

3. Cycling

Cycling is a great low-impact exercise that helps strengthen the muscles around your knees without putting excessive stress on the joints. Whether you opt for outdoor biking or using a stationary bike, be sure to adjust the seat height to prevent unnecessary strain on your knees.

4. Leg Raises

Leg raises are a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening the quadriceps, which provide support to the knee joint. Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight. Slowly raise the straight leg to the height of the bent knee, then lower it back down. Repeat on each leg for a set of 10-15 repetitions.

5. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls target the muscles at the back of the thigh, helping to stabilize the knee joint. You can perform this exercise using resistance bands or a machine at the gym. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend one knee, bringing your heel towards your buttocks. Lower your leg back down and repeat on both sides.

Remember to listen to your body and stop any exercise that causes increased pain or discomfort. It\’s essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to prevent further injury. With consistency and proper technique, these exercises can help improve your knee pain and overall quality of life.

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