Best Exercises and Stretches for Knee Pain/Bad Knees

Sore and aching knees?

Not great at the best of times and debilitating and wearing at the worst.

But a simple regime of regular knee strengthening exercises and stretches can significantly reduce knee pain and have you moving normally and safely again so that you can get on with enjoying life.

We’ve pulled together a few of varying difficulty below and hope you may find some among them that are of use to you.

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1. Seated Knee Bend

Sit with your back straight against a chair, both feet flat on the floor.

Raise toes of sore leg towards ceiling, slowly lifting and straightening sore knee as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds before returning foot to the floor.

Repeat 5 – 10 times before performing on strong leg.

2. Lying Knee Bend

Lie on the floor, arms by sides, legs straight.

Slowly bend sore knee, sliding foot along the floor and in towards hip as far as is comfortable. Hold for 2 – 5 seconds before slowly returning leg to start position.

Repeat 5 times and then perform the same for the other leg.

3. Lying Leg Lift

Lie on the floor, legs straight, arms by sides.

Keeping the sore knee straight, bend the other knee and pull that leg in towards hips. Flexing toes of sore leg towards the ceiling, slowly raise leg 1 inch or more from the ground, keeping bad knee straight throughout.

Hold for 2 – 5 seconds before returning leg to floor. Repeat 5 times before carrying out the same exercise on the other leg.

4. Lying Knee Hold

Lie on the floor, legs and knees straight, arms by your sides.

Press back of bad knee firmly down against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.

Repeat 5 – 10 times for sore knee, then perform for the other leg.

5. Squats for Knee Strengthening

The beauty of squats as a knee strengthening exercise is that they lend themselves to easy adaptation for whatever knee pain you are dealing with.

Squat Version 1

Stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart.

Slowly bend your knees, keeping toes forward as though sitting back into an imaginary chair behind you. Keep back straight and abdominal muscles engaged throughout.Use arms to help with balance if necessary.

Hold squat for 2 – 5 seconds. Return to start position. Repeat 4 sets of 5 – 10 reps (one rep = one squat)

Squat Version 2

If you are struggling to maintain a straight back, try performing the squat with your back against a wall.

Place your head, shoulders, back and hips flat against a solid wall. Slowly step your feet out from your body, lowering back and shoulders down the wall as you do so. Hold yourself in a supported seated squat for 2 – 5 seconds before walking feet back in to the body and back and shoulders up the wall.

NB: You might find this easier to perform against a closed door as your back may slide more easily against this surface than against an emulsioned or wallpapered wall.

Squat Version 3

For this version, position a sturdy chair behind you (You may like someone to hold the back of the chair for you in the first instance until you are confident in performing this exercise)

Stand feet shoulder-width apart, back to the chair. Cross arms over chest, grasping opposite shoulders with opposite hands. Gently lower yourself onto the chair, keeping your back straight throughout.

Pause, then raise yourself slowly, keeping back straight and abdominals engaged. Repeat 5 – 10 times

If the chair is too low, raise its height with cushions or pillows to facilitate this exercise.

6. Step-Ups

Place both feet on a step bench or the lowest step of a staircase.

Bend bad knee and slowly lower opposite foot to the floor. Touch the floor lightly with your toes before raising foot back on to the step.

Repeat 5 – 10 times before performing for the opposite leg. As your mobility increases and your confidence grows, you can further strengthen your knees by touching the floor with your heel rather than your toes. Or perform from the next step up to increase difficulty.

We hope you’ve found something in the above that may be helpful in terms of bringing relief to sore or bad knees. Remember though, that whilst a new exercise regime may bring some soreness to muscles and joints as they begin to be used again, exercise should never cause pain or make any existing condition worse. If that is the case, then please stop immediately and consult your health professional.

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