The best exercises for knee pain strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support the knee, while minimizing the weight placed on the knee. Exercises for knee pain can be practiced lying down, sitting, or standing. No accessories are needed for these exercises, except a chair and a wall to lean against.
Correct diagnosis of the cause of knee pain will identify the best type of exercises. Serious complications can arise from some causes of knee pain if they are left untreated. Consulting a physician before attempting any exercise is advisable.
The first set of exercises for knee pain are completed lying down on the back. One leg is bent with the foot resting on the floor, and the other leg is kept straight and on the ground. The bent leg slides down, stretching the leg muscles, until both legs are parallel. This is held for five to ten seconds and repeated five to eight times on each leg.
The next exercise is completed while laying on the side, resting on the elbow. One leg rests on the floor. The other leg is raised, exercising the leg muscle, and held for five to ten seconds. This is repeated five to ten times before switching to the other leg.
To exercise the knee while sitting, one foot is slowly lifted until the leg is straight and held for ten seconds. Then the knee is bent until the foot is about halfway back to the floor and held for another ten seconds. This is repeated five to ten times before switching to the other leg.
Another seated exercise for knee pain takes place on the floor. One leg is bent while the other remains flat on the floor. The foot of the bent leg crosses over the straight leg. The torso is twisted slightly, in the direction of the bent leg, which stretches the buttock and upper thigh muscles. This position is held for five to ten seconds before switching to the other side and bending the other leg.
The knee can be exercised while standing by slightly bending both legs and raising one foot off the ground. The knee is flexed so that the foot rises behind until the calf is parallel to the floor. This is held for five to ten seconds and repeated five to ten times before switching to the other leg.
To stretch the calf ligament while standing, both hands are placed on a wall at shoulder level. One leg is slightly bent and the other is stretched out in a diagonal line behind the body. Both feet remain on the floor. The arms are bent slowly so that the body lends forward and gently stretches the calf muscle. This is repeated five to ten times before switching to the other side.
The goal of exercises for knee pain is to strengthen the surrounding muscles and allow the ligaments, cartilage, and the knee cap to heal. Certain exercises place stress on the knee and may damage it further. For instance, stair climbing, running, and leg extension exercises place pressure on the knee.
Water aerobic exercises are commonly prescribed as an alternative exercise for knee pain. Since the body is lighter than water, the knee and other joints do not bear as much weight. Exercising in chest-deep water reduces the pressure of the body's weight up to 75%, and the joints, muscles, ligaments, and cartilage can be moved with minimal stress.