What Are The Best Exercises For Knee Pain?

What Are The Best Exercises For Knee Pain?

Given the sheer complexity of the knee it will be no surprise for you to learn that tens of millions of Americans experience knee pain every year.

The knees, that strange place where bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage all come together, forming a biomechanical hinge capable of moving our bodies and supporting most of our body’s weight all at the same time.

So, what can we do about helping to make that hinge move and work more smoothly? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just use a can of WD40 to loosen things up? Since that is not an option, here are some practical, easy exercises that will help with knee pain.

Before getting started make sure that you have warmed up using gentle, low impact exercises. No running or any other form of intense exercise.

Knee stretching exercise.

Ultimately you should aim to exercise for ten minutes a day. You will find regular (most days but not every day) gentle stretching and exercising of the knees can improve your mobility and reduce knee pain by helping to strengthen muscles and increase your flexibility.

As a cautionary warning - You may have heard the saying “no gain without pain”. Well when it comes to knee pain, that’s definitely NOT the case. When exercising your knees, you should stop immediately if you experience sharp or sudden pain. If you do experience sharp or sudden pain, seek professional medical advice as soon as possible if you have any concerns.

Once you have completed the exercises, you may want to use the R.I.C.E. treatment for ten to fifteen minutes, if you are experiencing any soreness. RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Four Easy Exercises For Sore Knees

Here are the best and easiest exercises for you to do in order to relieve your knee pain.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie near an open door with your knees where the door would normally be when closed
  • Keep your back and one leg flat on the ground
  • ​Raise the other leg upwards leaning it against the door jamb making sure to have a slight bend in the knee
  • ​Your legs should be roughly 90 degrees to each other vertically
  • ​Don’t tilt sideways - If you need to get your hips closer to the door jam
  • ​You can adjust yourself by moving forward or backwards to get more or less stretching of the legs
  • ​Hold this position for no more than 30 seconds before letting go
  • Do these five times for each leg

Standing Calf Stretch

  • Stand near a step or raised edge - making sure to support yourself by holding onto a handrail or the wall
  • Place one-foot flat on the ground and the toes of the other foot on the edge of the step
  • Gently lower your heel towards the ground while keeping your toes on the edge of the step
  • ​Make sure that you are gently stretching the calf muscles
  • ​Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute and then change legs
  • Do these five times for each leg

Knee Flexion Stretch

  • Sit on the floor with your back against the wall and with both legs on the floor
  • Place a towel around the sole of one foor
  • ​Bend your knee slightly and keep your back against the floor
  • ​Holding one end of the towel in each hand pull on the towel to move your leg towards your chest as much as you can comfortably manage
  • ​Hold this position for no more than 30 seconds before letting go
  • Do these five times for each leg
Knee flexion stretch.

Step Ups

  • Stand at the bottom of a set of stairs
  • Start to step up onto the first step (holding onto the rail for support if you need to) but don’t lift the other foot off the ground yet
  • ​Bring your grounded foot up to lightly tap the front top of the first step before stepping back down to the ground
  • ​Make sure that your knee is positioned over your ankle when doing steps
  • ​Now change to the other foot resting on top of the first step and lift the other foot up to lightly tap the edge of the first step before returning it to the ground followed then by the foot that had been resting on the top of the step
  • Repeat ten times being careful to be gentle on your knees and to continue to support yourself by holding onto the stair railing

Two Excellent Exercises For Arthritic Knees

If you have arthritic knees, here are a few exercises that are right just for you.

Water Walking

  • Walking in waist deep water can provide a low impact exercise for your knees as the water helps to support your body weight
  • Make sure to warm up and stretch for five to ten minutes before starting
  • ​Join a class where someone can show you good technique
  • Be careful not to over exercise as you may end up hurting your knees and tiring yourself out

Treadmill Walking

  • A good treadmill will have handrails to help you support yourself should you need them
  • Start with a slow walk and no incline for about the first five to ten minutes in order to warm up and stretch your body
  • ​Aim to exercise at least once every two days
  • ​Every couple of weeks increase the amount of time you spend walking by another five to ten minutes
  • ​Your target should be to walk for about half an hour a day
  • Once you are comfortably able to do this you may want to add a small incline however be careful not to put too much strain on your knees


If you have sore or arthritic knees the less pain you have to live with the better your quality of life will be. Regular gentle (low impact) exercise can help strengthen muscles around the knee and reduce pain however make sure to warm up carefully before exercising and to warm down afterwards.

Knee stretching.

Stretching and slow gentle exercise helps warm the body up and prepares the knee for movement. The means for less pain and a better quality of life lies in your hands; so, what are you waiting for?

If you have any doubts about how to perform any of these exercises you should consider getting help from an appropriate expert.

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