My Top Three Knee Pain Exercises
Knee pain and injuries. Knee facts.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is unfortunately a common problem. One thing that experts an agree on is that prevention is better than cure. My guests (patients) often ask me what the best knee pain exercises are to help them prevent, manage and rehab.
This blog post is designed for my guests to use as a reference as these are some of the exercises I use most often. If you’re not one of my guests and wish to try these exercises you do so at your own risk.
I really enjoy helping people with knee pain. Some knee problems are quite simple to correct, others a lot more difficult. I think it is important to get to the root of the problem and find out what is causing it. Once I have found out exactly what is going on, be it osteoarthritis, a muscle spasm, or a compensation for something else, I often use the rehabilitation exercises below to help.
Knee rehabilitation exercises are essential if you want the best possible results. The following three exercises are the most common I use. I find that they are the most effective for people who have suffered with knee pain. These exercises can be useful in many different types of knee pain as a lot of conditions have an associated muscle imbalance where the muscles aren’t quite doing the jobs that they are supposed to.
These can also be used for prevention of knee pain “prehab”.
In these cases I see the muscles are generally not working as they should be. The calves play an essential role in the efficient functioning of knee and ankle.
For this exercise all you need to do is make sure that you are supported, just in case you lose your balance. Slowly raise your heels off the ground. You then slowly lower your heels back down. For this exercise slow is important as it teaches the control of the muscle. This should be done in sets of ten and repeated three times.
This exercise is designed to improve the strength of the calf muscles but also helps to improve control and stability around the knee and ankle. This is also a good exercise for those who have had an ankle sprain (once the ankle is stable).
The next progression of this exercise is to perform the movement with the heel hanging over the end of the stairs.
2. Seated leg lifts
I have found the most common area of muscle imbalance is the thigh (quads) in knee problems. The muscles here help to control the movement of the knee cap.
For this exercise you are seated with the leg you are not targeting relaxed back. The other leg is at a right angle. Slowly lift up the leg in front keeping the knee bent. For this exercise you do not have to lift it too high but it is most effective when performed slowly. Something to watch out for is curving your back forward as you do this knee pain exercise as this can put extra strain on the spine. This exercise should be performed in sets of ten and repeated three times each side.
Seated leg lifts
This works on improving the strength and stability of the front thigh muscles the quadriceps. It also helps to strengthen and control the muscles that lift the leg up and can therefore be used in most hip cases also.
3. Lying leg lifts
This is an advanced knee pain exercise designed to work any imbalances in the thigh muscle.
For this exercise you are lying on your back with the knee you are working lying straight out and the other bent up. You need to contract the front thigh muscle and slowly lift the leg up for a count of three and then lower it for a count of three. Keep your bottom on the floor. You should lift your leg around thirty centimetres from the ground. This should be repeated ten times with three sets performed each side.
This is also designed to work on strengthening and stabilising the knee through the thigh muscles. Strengthening these muscles in different positions gets the muscles working the way they should when you do different activities such as walking or going upstairs.
Please remember these three knee pain exercises are to work alongside regular exercise such as walking or cycling and in combination with hands on treatment and nutritional changes if necessary.
Yours in health,
Mykel Mason, your Eastbourne chiropractor