The best exercises for a sore knee involve a combination of stretching, low impact cardio or aerobic exercise, and strength exercises to build up the muscles around the knee. A sore knee can interfere with movement and daily activities. Following a gentle stretching and exercise routine can reduce the soreness and prevent future knee injuries. Before starting a new exercise routine, it's important for a patient to talk to a doctor or a physical therapist if he is undergoing any type of physical therapy for a knee injury. When performing a stretch or exercise, he should stop if it starts to hurt or becomes uncomfortable.
The routine should be started by stretching the legs to warm up and loosen the muscles. This can be as simple was walking around the house or down the street for a few minutes. Practicing beginner yoga or Pilates also helps. Exercisers should choose stretches that are comfortable and don't put a lot of pressure on the knees. A sore knee can create a limited range of motion and the afflicted person should not stretch outside of this range which will cause pain and discomfort.
Several of the best beginner exercises for a sore knee include the chair extension, heel slide, and hamstring stretch. For the chair extension, the exerciser sits on a chair and places a second chair or low foot stool in front. The heel of one foot is placed onto the chair or foot stool, and he gently pushes down so the knee pushes toward the floor. He should not push any further than is comfortable, and if it is too uncomfortable, he should find an object lower to the ground to place the leg on. The position should be held for five to ten seconds before relaxing, then the stretch should be repeated approximately five times for each leg.
For the heel slide, the exerciser should lie flat on his back on an exercise mat or a bed and bend the knees so the feet are flat on the floor. One leg should be slowly straightened out as far as is comfortable, then pulled back to the starting position. To perform the hamstring stretch, the exerciser should stand up and place one foot flat on the ground about a foot in front of the body. The back knee is then bent to lower the body toward the floor and stretch the leg muscles. If bending is too painful, the exercise can be performed in a chair by sitting down and stretching the leg out straight.
Next, the exerciser can move on to strength exercises to work the muscles and help reduce the pain from a sore knee. Strength exercises may prove too hard, and the person should either work up to them gradually or stick only with the stretching routines. Some of the best strength exercises include leg raises, wall slides, and step-ups.
The leg raise is performed by the exerciser standing up straight with his hands on his hips and lifting one leg straight out behind his body. This position is held for a few seconds before the leg is lowered, and the position is repeated on the other side. The exerciser can then move on to the wall slide, placing his back against a wall and sliding down to mimic the action of sitting in a chair. He should slide down only as far as is comfortable and not slide so far that the backside goes down passed the knees.
The exerciser can finish up with step-ups. This exercise requires a small exercise step. He should choose one low to the ground and place one foot on it. He then uses the leg muscles to step onto the exercise step, and then lowers the body back down to the starting position on the floor.
To perform a full body workout, these stretches and exercises should be combined with a form of yoga, low impact cardio, or even Tai Chi. The workout should be performed without using any weights or resistance bands to avoid causing further injury. A patient should consult with a personal fitness trainer, doctor, or physical therapist for information on when and how much to exercise. He should ask when to increase the amount of exercise or whether to add weights over time.