The 5 Best Stretches For Knee Pain
No matter your age or activity of choice, it seems like almost everyone deals with knee pain at some point. Stretching, however, offers one possible solution to avoid it. Light stretching can help reduce muscle guarding or tension as a result of pain and help restore joint mobility, says Lauren Loberg, DPT, a physical therapist at TRIA Orthopaedic in Bloomington, Minnesota.
While stretching wont resolve knee pain, it can offer short-term relief to make movement and exercise more enjoyable, she adds.
To start, stretching is most beneficial when your knees are stiff or immobile. To ease stiffness and improve mobility, its important to target the muscles and joints that surround the knees. This means focusing on the hips, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, according to Philip Higgins, DPT, clinical director of Bespoke Treatments in Seattle, Washington. When these areas are flexible and mobile, your knees will be better equipped to bend, straighten and rotate safely and effectively.
According to these experts, the following five knee stretches check all the necessary boxes to reduce knee pain. Do them daily or incorporate them into your post-workout cooldown routine to reap the benefits.
Seated Straight Leg Raise
Knee pain often results in quadriceps weakness- this exercise will help. Sit in a comfortable seat holding good posture with the feet flat on the floor and hip width apart. Then, tighten the top of the thigh as you lift that foot off the ground and straighten the knee . Hold for an extra second with the knee straight before slowly returning to the starting position. Alternate between both legs.
Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each leg for 2-3 sets total. To progress, add ankle weights, increase hold time, or increase repetitions.
Exercise And Knee Pain
If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.
Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.
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How Often You Should Stretch
You should aim to stretch once a day, especially after a workout when your muscles are warm. If you want to complete a knee-stretching workout on its own, you should complete approximately five minutes of moderate cardio to warm up the body and allow you to achieve a better range of motion for each stretch.
Each time you perform a knee-stretching workout, aim for a comprehensive routine targeting your calves, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
Research shows a wide-ranging routine will keep you following through with the exercises. A 2019 study from Clinical Rheumatology found that home exercise therapy compliance rates measured near or at 100% when exercise programs involved both muscle strength and joint flexibility rather than knee extension power only.
Stretch For Knee Pain 4 Hip Flexors Stretch
The hip flexors, combined with the chair lifestyle and running, can get really tight.
When your hips get too tight, your body will overwork the quads, which places a lot of pressure on your knees.
Start by kneeling your right knee on the ground and your left leg at a 90-degree angle in front of you.
While keeping your back flat, put your hands on your right knee, then lean into your right leg to feel your hips open up.
While keeping your right knee pressed to the floor, lean forward into your left hip while engaging the muscles in your left buttocks.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch.
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Forward Fold With Crossed Legs
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Cross your right leg over your left leg, setting your right foot down to the outside of your left foot. Reach down toward your left foot and breathe deeply. Hold for 30 seconds as the muscle releases.
Do the same with the opposite foot. Repeat five times.
Double Knee To Chest Core Strengthening
Core strengthening is always an essential piece for a lower leg strengthening program. Without good core strength, leg strength and balance can never be optimized. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor to get started. Then, tighten the abs so that your back is flat on the floor. Hold this position as you lift both feet off the ground and bring your knees toward the chest. You should be able complete this with little to no movement in the low back without holding your breath. Return your feet to the floor with control and repeat.
Repeat for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. If its too hard, you can start with one leg at a time. Other great core strengthening options include planks and bicycle crunches.
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Stretch For Knee Pain 2 Side Lunge Stretch
Side lunges loosen up and stretch the hip adductorsanother important muscle that impacts knee function by stabilizing the hips .
When your adductor are tight, your hips and pelvis may not be stable.
Begin by standing, assuming a wide stance, feet far apart.
Next, while engaging your core and moving your feet to a 45-degree angle, lunge to your right side, bending your right knee, and keeping the opposite leg straight.
You should feel a deep stretch in your thigh.
For extra balance, place your hands on the floor in front of you.
Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Exercises To Reduce Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions for which people seek medical treatment. It includes pain felt behind and around the knee cap, especially during activities like stair climbing, squatting, running, and walking while carrying a heavy load. Knee pain can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities and performing daily tasks. Without proper treatment, it can linger for years.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include knee stiffness, incorrect positioning of the knee cap at rest or with movement, flat feet, improper exercise form, and weakness of the muscles that control the hip and knee.
A physical therapist can work with you to address your knee pain. After an evaluation, a physical therapist will design an individualized comprehensive treatment program to address the specific factors causing your knee pain. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation.
To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
These exercises are proven by research to reduce pain and improve your ability to participate in the activities you love.
Consult your health care provider before starting these exercises to determine if they are right for you. If you experience any symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness at any time, you should stop immediately. These exercises are provided for educational information only.
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How To Stretch Your Knees
Stretches for knee pain strengthens the muscles that support your knee. Strong muscles in the hamstrings and quadriceps help the knee joint absorb shock. Knee Stretching exercises the muscles for strength is an essential part of preventing injury.
Stretches build muscle to help support the knee and also tighten the muscles and make them flexible. It increases the blood flow to your knee muscles and improves the performance in physical activities. Also, it increases your flexibility, improves posture, and can calm your mind and body.
Knee stretches are deemed extremely effective. The stretches mentioned above for knee pain can speed up the healing process. These are effective stretches for knee pain and do not cause any harm to your body and knee. You can perform all the stretches by yourself, without any assistance.
The stretches strengthen your knee and increase flexibility. Embrace the remarkable benefits of stretches for knee pain. However, if you feel pain over time, it is essential to contact your health care professional.
Perform These Knee Stretches To Help Relieve Knee Pain
As you just discovered, a “knee stretch” may not stretch your knee at all. Instead, stretches for knee pain help loosen the muscles surrounding your knee joint such as your quads, hamstrings, and inner thigh muscles.
As your knee hurts, remember this: Doing one thing will rarely, if ever, cure an injury. To truly rid yourself of knee pain, you will need to take a well-rounded approach to wellness. Strengthening your quads, performing gluteactivation, and doing a proper warm up will take pressure off the knee, and improve the stabilization of the joint.
In addition, switching to low-impact activities , will help your knee joint prevent overuse, giving your knee time to heal. Lastly, revise your recovery routine, foam rolling your quads, hamstrings, and IT bands to relieve knee pain.
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Side Lying It Band Stretch
This stretch allows you to lie down, maximizing your comfort while relieving IT band pain. The side lying IT band stretch works the area between your hips and calves, making it the perfect move to incorporate into your stretching routine. To perform, lie down on your right side with your legs together. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping your legs together. Keeping your top left knee bent, move it behind you, slowly lowering it down to the mat until you feel the stretch in your left leg. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
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Knee Pain Exercise: Stretches The Muscles On The Front Of Your Thighs
Lie on your side on the floor. Bend your lower leg at the hip and knee joint so that you are stable. Now grasp that leg at the ankle with the arm that is on top and pull the heel toward your buttocks.
You will now feel a stretch on the front of your thigh. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.
Tip: push your hips forward a little to increase the stretch.
Physical Therapy And Treatments
Physical therapy can avoid severe knee pain. Helps in reducing the pain caused by swelling, stiffness, and tears. This involves the evaluation of your knee to make playing tennis easy for you.
Correct diagnosis and proper management are important. Different exercises, stretches, application of heat or ice, and massages will be assigned to you.
Stop playing tennis until you no longer feel the pain in your knees. Slowly build your flexibility and strength before returning back to the game.
Avoid overexertion and vary your routine by dodging other activities like swimming, running, and yoga. But keep in mind that if the knee pain is severe and you cannot endure it anymore, immediately visit a physician.
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Hip Flexor And Quadriceps Stretch
When youre in pain, doing the standing quad stretch can be really challenging, or even impossible.
How to stretch?
- First, lie face down on the floor or on a bed, and wrap a belt or yoga strap around your right foot, holding each side with each hand.
- Then gently pull on the belt or strap so that your heel moves towards your buttocks.
- When you feel a stretch in your flexor muscles and quadriceps , hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Best Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief
1.Straight Leg Stretch Targets the hamstrings and anterior muscles of your legs.
How to Do it:
- Lie down on your back and keep your legs straight
- Proceed to bend your one leg while keeping your foot flat on the floor.
- Raise and extend your other leg up as high as possible until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Hold it up for preferably 30 seconds or as long as you are comfortable with it.
- Put your leg down and proceed to repeat the process on the other leg.
2.Heel and Calf Stretch Targets the lower leg and calf muscles.
How to Do it:
- Stand against a wall and proceed to place both of your hands against it.
- Move your one foot back as far as you can with your heels firmly flat on the floor.
- Bend your knee slightly until you feel a stretch on your back legs.
- Hold that position and lean into it for about 30 seconds.
- Change legs, then repeat the process twice for both legs.
3.Side Lunges Targets the adductors, inner thigh muscles that can help stabilize your hips.
How to Do it:
- Extend one leg to the side into a lunge.
- Bend the exact legs knee while keeping the opposite leg straight.
- For support and balance, place your fingertips on the floor in front of you should you feel the need to.
- Hold your form for about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Switch sides and then repeat the process.
4.Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch Targets the hips tightness to prevent over-reliance on the quad muscles that put pressure on the knees.
How to Do it:
How to Do it:
How to Do it:
How to Do it:
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Side To Side Leg Swings
This is a great exercise since it strengthens the hamstring without straining the knee. It also strengthens butt muscles and loosens the hips.
How to perform
Stand beside a wall and place one arm on the wall for support.
Lift one leg off the floor and start to swing it sideways.
Start with small swings and gradually increase the range of motion after every swing.
Do 2 sets for each leg, with at least 20 reps for each set.
Simple Stretches That Relieve Knee Pain For Good
If you want to relieve knee pain or prevent it, this article will show you exercises that stretch and strengthen the knee joint.
The knee joint is prone to injuries since we use it in every movement and it supports our entire body weight. In fact, research shows its the most injured joint.
Its worth noting that the exercises recommended in this article are for short-term knee pain. See a doctor if you have chronic knee pain.
You see, excess pressure is exerted on the knees when the muscles attached to them are weak or tight. So the exercises below will stretch and strengthen these muscles. Calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs, and IT band, are the main muscles attached to the knees.
Once these muscles are stronger there will be less weight on the bones and the knees will be well supported.
Chances are youre making mistakes that trigger knee pain. Here are some common causes of knee pain inactivity, injuries, repetitive movement , high-intensity exercises , arthritis, and excess body weight. Here are the worst exercises for knee pain.
Note that low impact exercises like swimming and walking can also alleviate knee pain. Here are the best knee strengthening and stretching exercises.
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Identifying Growing Pains: When To Start Raising Concern
When your knees hurt, its evident that there is something wrong with it. However, a slight ache or pain on the knee is often neglected and brushed off more times than people even realize because, more often than not, they assume that it will get better on its own.
Look, some symptoms can be worse than others. You need to identify them right away for you to bring immediate medical attention to it. Here are signs of a knee injury to look out for:
- Swollen Knees
- Difficulty in moving the knee
Strengthening Exercises For Knee Pain
“If someone already has knee pain, then certain exercises can be painful,” says Morris. She cites full squats and lunges, particularly when using dumbbells, as potential pain points for someone with pre-existing knee pain.
Here are some other strengthening exercises if you suffer from knee pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
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Consistency Is The Key
Knee stretching and strengthening is a gentle and gradual process. Therefore, consistency in practicing these knee stretches goes a long way.
The knees are one of the most important joints in the foundational structure of your body. So, take good care of them and enjoy pain-less healthy knees, irrespective of your age and occupation. I wish you the best!
Top 7 Stretches To Relieve Knee Pain For Athletes
Athletes like you want to push their limits every day to become better at what they do. However, putting your joints under too much stress can cause pain and inflammation. You can use the following athletic stretches to prevent knee pain. We also suggest these stretches for knee pain that already exists.
Please note that the best knee stretches for runners and athletes will depend on the nature of their individual injury or pain. An orthopedic specialist can help you find the right exercises for you.
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