Knee Exercises: At-Home Strengthening Exercises for Knee Pain
From getting runner’s knee to making an abrupt twist during an exercise routine, the most minor of knee injuries can put us out of commission.
Fortunately, you can reduce knee pain and improve your knee condition by doing some simple exercises right at home.
In this article, we will look into the most effective exercises for strengthening your knees so you can return to your active lifestyle in no time.
First up, how do knee exercises help with knee injuries?
It may seem counterintuitive to work out your knees after an injury. But studies have shown that exercising your knees is better than keeping them still.
Exercise strengthens the muscles that support your knee and keeps them flexible. While resting them will only cause them to stiffen and even worsen the pain.
However, if any swelling occurs after an injury, it is strongly recommended to seek professional advice regardless if the swelling has reduced after some time.
A word of caution before starting your knee exercise program
As always, safety comes first, especially if you have existing knee pain. This article cannot replace professional medical advice.
While working out your knees should be safe, you should still make sure to consult a healthcare professional to determine which exercises are good for you.
Depending on your situation, they can help you select the safest exercises and include modifications to your routine based on your type of knee pain.
Don’t forget to do warm-ups, too, before starting any exercise. This can look like riding a stationary bike for 5 min, a 2-minute brisk walk, or 15-20 calf raises.
Warm-ups increase your heart rate, allowing for better blood flow and for more oxygen to reach your muscles. They also activate nerve-to-muscle connections that allow for more efficient movements.
Knee strengthening and stretching exercises
Knee stretching exercises
These exercises help improve your knee joint’s range of motion and overall flexibility.
Heel and calf stretch
Area of focus: Calf muscles and the rest of the lower leg
- Facing a wall, place your hands on the wall and stand a few inches away from the wall.
- Extend one leg behind you. Keeping both feet flat on the floor with the toes pointing forward and your rear knee straight.
- Lean toward the wall until you feel the tension in the calf muscle of the extended leg (You can put your arms on the wall for support).
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then relax and repeat on the other side. Repeat twice for each side.
Area of focus: Quadriceps or your front thigh muscles
- Use a chair or a wall as support while you stand. The distance between your feet should be shoulder-width.
- Raise your right leg toward your glutes as you flex one knee.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Do the same for your other leg, then return to the beginning position. Repeat this twice on each side.
Area of focus: Hamstrings or the back muscles of your thighs
- Sit on the bed with one leg stretched out straight and the other foot resting on the floor.
- Reach your hands along your straight leg, keeping your back straight and hinging through your hip until you feel a stretch at the back of your upper leg or back.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax and repeat on the other leg. Repeat this twice on each side.
Knee strengthening exercises
These exercises work the muscles around the knee to reduce stress on your knee joint.
Area of focus: Quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings
- Squat down while standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- You may put your hands on your hips or in front of you for balance.
- With your knee cap pointing the same direction as your toes, slowly bend your knees, lowering yourself by about 10 inches while keeping your head straight.
- Pause to breathe, then carefully push through your heels to stand up.
- Do two to three sets of this exercise in 10 repetitions.
Straight leg raises
Area of focus: Quadriceps and hip flexor muscles
- You can use a mat to cushion your back for this exercise.
- Lie on the floor with one leg straight in front of you, and one leg bent.
- Keeping your trunk flat on the mat at all times, slowly raise your straight leg off the ground until it is level with your bent knee.
- Count to five seconds at the top before lowering to the starting position.
- Switch legs and repeat 10x for 2 to 3 sets.
Prone leg raises
Area of focus: Hamstrings and glutes
- Use a mat to cushion your front.
- Lie on your stomach with your legs straight back. You may rest your forehead on your arms if you want to.
- Engage your glute and hamstring as you lift your left leg as high as possible, stopping where it becomes uncomfortable.
- Keep your pelvic bones on the floor the entire time you perform this exercise.
- Hold your raised leg in place for five seconds.
- Lower your leg, take a two-second break, and do it again.
- Perform two to three sets of 10 reps on each leg.
Get back into action with strong, healthy knees!
Whether you’re a marathon runner, a professional athlete, an office worker, or a daily walker, exercising your injured knee is always beneficial.
Along with knee stretching and strengthening exercises, chiropractic treatment can also be used to keep your knee pain from worsening and hasten your recovery.
Our chiropractors at Elite Spine Centres provide a comprehensive therapy plan tailored to your type of knee pain and unique needs.
Instead of only checking the knee and the injury site as most doctors would, we examine the entire lower kinetic chain.
By tackling the problems that arise in areas away from the knees but still affect your knee condition, we can stop the pain from the root cause and prevent relapses.
Among the ways we facilitate this treatment include:
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM)
- Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT)
- Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
- Manual adjustments
- Rehabilitative exercise programs and physical therapy
- Expert wellness advice
Take the first step towards pain-free knees.
Book an appointment with our chiropractors today for customised chiropractic care and therapy program!
Dr. Michael Bryant, doctor of chiropractic and member of the Alliance of Chiropractic (AOC) Singapore, graduated summa cum laude from Life University in Atlanta and received several distinctions, as well as completing additional coursework and NBCE certification in physiotherapy. Michael Bryant is the founder of Elite Spine Centers. Read more about Dr. Mike here.