When your knee is hurting the last thing you feel like doing is exercising but careful, targeted exercise is one of the best things you can do for knee pain. People who do specific knee strengthening exercises have less pain, recover quicker from injuries and have better mobility. Knee problems often occur when there is a weakness in the leg muscles, meaning the knee joint is less well supported which results in more weight going through the bones, making knee problems much more likely. Most knee pain is caused by one of 3 things, injury, wear & tear or mechanical issues.
Low impact exercise such as yoga, swimming and walking can help knee pain and increase flexibility. Walking is particularly beneficial for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Strength building exercises targeting the quadriceps and hamstrings particularly, help support the knee and reduce its load. But what are the exercises you can do easily at home to help build up the muscles and support this complex joint?
This exercise is excellent for the hamstrings, quads and glutes.
Lie on your back and bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor about 6” apart. With your arms by your side raise your bottom off the floor as high as you can go without arching the back. Squeeze your glutes and feel the the stretch along the quad muscles. Hold for a few breaths, then lower slowly.
This exercise strengthens the quads without moving the knee much and helps improve strength and control.
Sit or lie on the floor and place a rolled up towel under your knee. Pull your toes towards you and clench your thigh muscles. Slowly lift your foot off the floor until your knee is straight (keep your knee resting on the towel), hold for 3-5 seconds and slowly lower.
These strengthen the hamstrings and increase knee mobility.
Lie on your tummy on the floor with your legs straight. Lift your foot off the floor and bring towards your bottom as far as you can. Slowly return to the starting position.
This exercise strengthens the calf muscles to help support the knee.
Stand with your feet slightly apart, weight equally distributed and hold onto something solid such as a chair or table. Rise up on to your toes lifting your heels as high as possible. Keep the body upright as you do this. Hold for 3-5 seconds and lower slowly.