Exercising When You Have Knee Pain

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The best exercise program for anyone depends on their individual needs, and a doctor can provide detailed advice about how much exercise to do and which activities work best. However, some basic, low-impact exercises may be useful for many people. SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Whether it lasts a few days or much longer, knee pain may be challenging for anyone to endure. With your healthcare provider\’s permission, giving modified exercise a chance may help reduce pain. This move focuses on strengthening the muscles of the outer thigh and hip, which will help to keep the knees in a more neutral position, Prestipino says.

The straight leg raise strengthens your quadriceps and your hip flexor muscles. If you flex your foot at the end of the move, you should also feel your shins tighten. If you have an acute injury or swelling with inside knee pain, ice is your best bet, says Dr. Paul. That’s because the cold will constrict blood vessels and slow circulation, which reduces swelling. Compression can also reduce swelling by pushing blood and other fluids out of the knee, which helps improve circulation.

If you have knee pain, reverse lunges are better than forward lunges because they put less forward stress on the knee. Most people also find it easier to maintain stability in the front leg doing reverse lunges vs. forward lunges. The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body, so it\’s not surprising that knee pain is common.

Knee pain can be a common issue for many individuals, but it doesn\’t mean you have to stop exercising altogether. In fact, staying active can actually help improve your knee pain over time. It\’s important to find the right balance between exercising to strengthen the muscles around your knee and avoiding activities that may exacerbate the pain.

Low-Impact Exercises

When dealing with knee pain, it\’s best to focus on low-impact exercises that are gentle on the joints. Some great options include:

If you’re over age 50 and you have stiffness, pain, or swelling, it may be osteoarthritis. Years of wear and tear can break down the cartilage in the knees, leading to chronic joint inflammation. While nothing can reverse these physical changes, you can reduce pain by building up the muscles around the knee as well as in the pelvis and core. Strong muscles act like scaffolding, taking some of the pressure off the joints.

    Here are knee stretches and strengthening exercises to try. You should also incorporate daily stretching into your routine. Try using a foam roller to work out the kinks in your muscles. The roller targets tight, rigid, and painful areas in both the muscles and the myofascial tissue (a layer of connective tissue around the muscles). This process, called myofascial release, which can also be performed through a hands-on massage, is designed to relax this tissue to reduce pain.

  • Swimming: This is an excellent full-body workout that is easy on the knees.
  • Cycling: Riding a bike can help strengthen the muscles around the knee without putting too much strain on the joint.

Strength Training

Strength training is crucial for supporting the knee joint and preventing further pain. Focus on exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Some effective strength training exercises include:

  • Lunges: This exercise helps strengthen the quadriceps and glutes.
  • Leg raises: Leg raises can help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint.


Can I still exercise if I have knee pain?

Yes, you can still exercise with knee pain. It\’s important to listen to your body and choose low-impact exercises that won\’t aggravate the pain.

How often should I exercise if I have knee pain?

It\’s recommended to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. However, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.

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