There could be a variety of reasons why you have knee pain. It could be related to genetics (i.e.: arthritis runs in the family), bad form while running or training, a previous injury that never quite healed properly, etc. One reason that is often overlooked, are weak muscles. By that we mean the 4 major muscles that surround the knee, which include the hamstrings, calves, quads and glutes. If these muscles are not balanced properly, where one or more of the muscles is stronger that the others, it can put unnecessary strain on your knees. Although we’ve covered a bit of that in our post “Why Strengthen The Muscles Around The Knee?“, there are other exercises that can help you to develop better mobility, support and flexibility. If this is something that you are interested in, keep reading.
Before You Get Started
We will cover the exercises in just a bit, but we did want to cover a few important things before that:
- If you are currently suffering with knee pain, you should always consult your doctor before you begin any type of new exercise. Why? Even though exercising in general is good for you, some types of exercises may not be good for your particular situation. We highly recommend that you an assessment to pinpoint the exact root cause of your pain.
- Always warm up before you do any exercise. The last thing you want to do is make things worse. A few things you can do include walking and dynamic stretching. 5-10 minutes should do the trick.
- Always start slowly. Do a few reps of each exercise and wait it out to see if you experience any sort of pain. If not, gradually increase the intensity or amount of reps.
5 Exercises to Ease Knee Pain
The following exercises will help to develop strength, mobility and flexibility in your legs and knees.
1. Toe Tap
First, lie on your back and place your knee above your hips while ensuring that your lower legs remain parallel to the floor. In this position, you can tap your feet alternately. Just a few minutes a day will help improve the pain in the long-term. Develop a continuous routine and the pain will reduce significantly. As an alternative, you can do this exercise standing up:
2. Knee to Chest
Start by lying flat on your back and this time, ensure that your legs are also flat on the ground. In this position, ensure that you are comfortable to avoid straining any other body parts. Bend your knee. In this position, pull one knee slowly and allow it to approach your chest. Always remember not to move your back as you exercise your knee for this exercise to be effective. Hold the position for about five seconds and then slowly lower your knee. Repeat the process with the other leg even if it is not in any pain. This will help to create an ideal balance and it will provide an ideal way of exercising your legs.
3. Leg Extension
The first step will be to sit on a chair. While on a chair, place your feet flat on the ground while ensuring that your legs retain a 90-degree angle. Lift one of your legs until it is fully extended. Make it slow to avoid straining your knee further. In this position, hold for about 5 seconds and then gradually lower your leg. Repeat the process with the other leg. Once you start to feel stronger, you can do the same exercise using ankle weights or even a leg extension machine.
4. Wall Sit
Just as the name suggests, you will need a wall. Lean on a wall and place your feet about a few feet away from the wall while your back remains on the wall. Slide down on the wall until you make a 90-degree fold with your legs, then hold for a few seconds. Slide back up and repeat.
5. Partial Squat
Position yourself in front of a chair and stand about a foot away. Spread your feet slightly to help you gain some stability. Lower yourself slowly to avoid straining your knee or causing a worse injury. Lower yourself halfway down as you approach the chair. As you lower yourself, keep your abs tight. It is referred to as a partial squat because you will ensure that your knees do not go over your toes.
The exercises we covered above are popular exercises when it comes to knee pain. How often you do them, and which ones, will depend on your schedule and particular situation. Just take it slow at first and remember, if one of them causes you to have more pain, just skip it and move onto the next. Until next time!