What are the Best Exercises for Knee Pain?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2020
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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.


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Post 2

Exercises that can be used as knee pain remedies are basically exercises that strengthen leg muscles without causing knee pain. Water exercise is particularly effective, and is often used by athletes rehabilitating from leg injuries. Any exercise that can be completed without putting additional pressure on the knee itself is probably worth considering.

However, you should remember that all knee pain can't be treated in the same way. The cause of the pain will determine the treatment best suited for the individual case.

Post 1

I was having trouble with my knees, the left one mostly. The knee would just give way. I could be playing basketball or just walking up a flight of stairs and the knee would give and I would go to the ground. I started wearing a brace for support, but a friend suggested I try strengthening my leg muscles in general rather than wearing a brace that might make my knee more dependent on the additional support.

I stayed away from any exercises that might be a knee pain cause and concentrated on building my calf muscles and the large leg muscles above the knee. with a bar and weights on my shoulders, I would step onto a step

on my deck, first one foot then the other, and then I would step back down in the same way. I repeated the exercise, increasing my repetitions as I progressed. My knee improved significantly, and I have put the brace away for now.

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