3 Main Stretches for Painful Knees
One of the most common complaints people had is knee pain, but that minor aches responded well to exercise, physical therapy or knee braces. One of the best ways to calm down your painful knees is to strengthen them. It also helps with existing pain since you’ll be working the muscles that impact the area around the knee.
Exercising with Knee Pain
If you have existing pain, it might seem like the best course of action is to rest the knee. If you have had a recent injury, you should apply ice and rest before attempting any other treatments. With chronic pain due to arthritis or constant exercise, Ortho Info suggests that stretching and increasing flexibility is vital to reducing and preventing knee pain. You should be performing the proper exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the knee.
Stretch and Strengthen Those Muscles
Whether you’re experiencing pain because of high-impact activities like running or because of arthritis, you should take a few days to remove yourself from activities that cause the most pain. For runners, a few days of knee exercises can get you back out on the road to running again. When you work the muscles surrounding the knee like the quadriceps and hamstring, you’re stabilizing and supporting the knee. Squats and lunges are the best exercises for strengthening the quads and hamstrings, but are the worst for chronic knee pain sufferers. These 3 stretches and exercises will work the muscles without hurting the knee.
Stretch the Hamstring
The hamstring is the muscle in the back of the thigh that connects the hip to the knee. Stretching this muscle before and after a workout will help reduce and eliminate knee pain. You’ll need a towel or bed sheet for this. Lie down on the ground and loop the bed sheet around the foot. With the help of the sheet, lift the leg straight up from the ground as high as possible. Don’t lock the knee, or it could increase the pain. Leave the knee loose and slightly bent to be as comfortable as possible. Hold the position for 30 seconds to really feel the stretch then lower the leg to the ground. Repeat this motion on each leg 10 times.
Stretch the Quadricep
With so many people sitting all day for work, the quads can get short and stretching is essential for relieving tension. To do this stretch, you’ll need to kneel on one knee. You can place a towel or folded blanket under the knee for cushioning. The other leg can be planted with the knee bent and foot flat on the floor. Lean forward onto the front, bent leg and grab the ankle of the leg that is kneeling on the ground. Lift the foot towards the buttocks to really stretch and elongate the quadricep muscle. This should be done only if it’s comfortable. The stretch should not feel painful, just a bit tight. Hold for 30 seconds and release. This should be done 10 times on each leg if possible.
Leg Raises with Roller
This exercise will strengthen the quad in the front of your thigh. With a small soccer ball or foam roller placed under the knee, you’re going to raise your leg slightly to lift your foot off the ground. The soccer ball should lift the knee slightly so all you’ll have to do is tighten the thigh muscles to lift the foot. This is much like the extension machines at the gym, but you won’t be adding weight to the knee, which helps with the pain. Start with 10 per leg and increase the amount as the leg becomes stronger.
All of these stretches and exercises will lengthen the muscles and ease the pain associated with the knees. Each exercise should be started slowly to see how the knee reacts. While you should feel the stretch and lengthening of the muscles, it should be a good stretch with no pain associated with it. If there’s pain with these stretches, start slower and don’t lift the leg or foot as high. Work your way to a deeper extension of the leg.