Knee pain holds second place as common causes for chronic pain. Over 100 million people in America experience some sort of knee pain.
Knee pain is so common in people and it can be due to a variety of issues: overuse of the tendons, tendinitis, bursitis, arhtritis, muscle tears, and sprains or strains. Often, it’s fear of more pain and further injury that prevents many from exercising, even though the right moes can help the condition!
Disclaimer: I do recommend getting clearance from your doctor before trying any of these stretches or strengthening exercises. This post is not intended to provide any kind of medical advice or replace any guidance given by a medical professional.
Before attempting any kind of stretching or exercises with knee pain, it’s important to warm up properly!
How to Warm Up
- Start with brisk 2 to 3 minute walk pumping your arms in the process.
- Get on a stationary bike on an easy pace for a couple minutes
- Do some Dynamic stretching, like knee hugs, Frankensteins, high knees, butt kicks. The point here is to use your full range of motion.
INSERT VIDEO ON WARM UP
When it’s cold outside, you generally let the car warm up before driving it, right? Treat your body the same way. Doing a short warm up allows a gradual rise in heart rate, warms the muscles up by increasing blood circulation, gets those tendons and ligaments ready for the stress of movement, loosens up joints, increase muscle temperature for increased flexibility and efficiency, and minimizes stress on the heart.
Stretching Exercises With Knee Pain
After warming up, doing some gentle stretching can help reduce joint stiffness, help keep joints flexible, and allow for a greater range of motion for higher flexibility.
Your tendons act as cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone.
Heel and Calf Stretch
For this stretch you want to stand facing the wall in a staggered stance, or some sort of surface you can hold on to. Place your hands on the wall. With your heels flat on the ground and your knees slightly bent, lean in for about 30 seconds.
Do this 2 times per leg.
Where should you feel this? The back of the leg, the calf and possibly the hamstring.
Note: Your current flexibily will dictate how far apart your feet are. Don’t worry about distance or standing with your feet as far apart as you can. Stand where it’s comfortable and where you can feel a slight stretch with no pain.
In this simple stretch you are standing while gently pulling one ankle at a time towards your glute muscles.
Do this 2 times per leg. Hold for 30 seconds.
What does this do? The Quad stretch increases flexibility in the hip flexors and the quads which provide extra support for the knees.
Lie on your back with your feet flexed. Place your hands behing your thigh, one at a time, and gently pull the knee toward your chest. Only pull as far as your range of motion allows. Hold for 30 seconds.
Do this 2 times per leg.
What does this do? This stretches the back of the leg, up to the base of the glutes.
What Are Some Good Strengthening Exercises With Knee Pain?
Typically when we think of strenfth trainig, we think of the bigger muslces: Calves, Quads, hamstrings, shoulders, Back, chest, etc. We forget about the smaller muscles. Your hand is made of up of many smaller muscles that don’t get trained when the focus is on the larger muscles.
The below strengthening exercises with knee pain can help strengthen the muscles that support and surround the knee joint reducing the stress and impact on the knee.
The half squat is similar to the full squat, you are only going halfway down. Start with your legs about hip width apart. Ensure your knees do not travel above your toes and squat halfway down. No need to try to get parallel to the ground.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.
As you get stronger and your range of motion increases, you can slowly add weights.
Adding in some calf exercises allows for a well rounded leg. All leg muscles work together in conjunction to allow full support.
Stand with your legs a little less than hip wideth apart, toes facing forward. You’re going to slightly raise yourself a couple of inchese using the ball of your foot and slowly lower.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.
Hamstring curls can be done lying down on your stomach or standing, the concept is the same. Lift your leg and bring your foot as close to your glute as possible and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Do 3 set of 10 to 12.
Slowly add weight as you get stronger.
Straight Leg Raises
For this exercise you’ll need to lie on your back with both legs straight. Raise one leg off the ground as high as you can.
This helps strengthen the quads if squats aren’t an option.
Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Side Leg Raise
Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of one another. Bend the bottom leg and use as support if needed, but keep the top leg straight. Raise it up to a 45 degree angle, hold for 5 seconds then lower.
Repeat 10 to 15 times per leg.
What does this do? This works the hip abductors and the side glutes.
Cardio Exercises With Knee Pain
Cardio can also help strengthen the lower body as a whole, get that heart rate increased for better circulation and help with weight loss. Even a loss of 2 pounds can help dramatically with knee pain.
Rowing Machine gives you a full body workout but focuses on strengthening the quads and hamstrings. A few minutes of this should suffice.
Swimming is one of the best choices for exercises with knee pain. Water takes the impact off the body and knees while still working the muscles. some gyms offer water aerobics!
Treadmills can be helpful using the cushion belt to stabilize yourself. Walking is a great way to lose weight and strengthen the legs.
These stretches and exercises are to be used as guidelines only! Please refer to your doctor for the ultimate say in your program.
Both stretching and strengthening exercises with knee pain can immensely help subside pain by protecting the tissue and building the muscles that help support and surround the knee joint.
Do you currently suffer from knee pain and are doing some of these exercises?
Drop a comment and let me know!