If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving the flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee that’s injured or arthritic may seem counter intuitive, but in fact, it is better than keeping it still. Not moving can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Causes of knee pain:
- Bursitis: A bursa is a sac that holds a small amount of fluid that’s under the skin above your joint. It helps prevent friction when the joint moves. Overuse, falls, or repeated bending and kneeling can irritate the bursa on top of your kneecap. That leads to pain and swelling, also called “prepatellar bursitis”.
- Dislocated kneecap: This means that your kneecap slides out of position, causing knee pain and swelling also called “patellar dislocation.”
- IT (iliotibial) band syndrome: The iliotibial (IT) band is a piece of tough tissue that runs from your hip down to the outer part of your knee. When you overdo activity, it can become inflamed over time. That causes pain on the outer side of the knee. It’s common among runners when going downhill.
- Meniscal tear: Sometimes, a knee injury can cause cartilage to rip. These rough edges can get stuck in the joint, which causes pain and swelling. Many times, people will have the sensation of “catching” in the joint when they are active.
- Osteoarthritis: This is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It’s a top cause of knee pain after age 50. This condition causes the knee joint to ache or swell when you’re active. Joints affected by osteoarthritis can also be stiff early in the day.
- Patellar tendinitis: This means you have inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to your bones. When you overdo exercise, they can become inflamed and sore. You may also hear it called “jumper’s knee” because repetitive jumping is the most common cause.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome: Muscle imbalance, tightness, and alignment problems of the legs usually cause this condition. It causes knee pain and occasional “buckling,” meaning your knee suddenly can’t bear your weight. It’s not due to an injury. It’s more common for women than for men.
Today, we will list a few most effective exercises you can do to strengthen your knee and reduce the pain.
Side leg raises
This exercise works your hip abductor muscles and your gluts. Your hip abductor muscles, located on the outside of your hips, help you to stand, walk, and rotate your legs with ease. Strengthening these muscles can assist preventing and treating pain in the hips and knees.
Straight leg raises
Using your own body weight, rather than a weighted machine, to strengthen your quadriceps helps keep added pressure off your knees.
The standing hamstring curl targets your hamstrings and glutes. It also requires good core strength to keep your upper body and hips steady.
This exercise strengthens the back of your lower legs, which includes your calf muscles.
Half squats are an excellent way to strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings without straining your knees.
This stretch specifically targets your quadriceps, the muscles at the front of your thighs. Performing this move can help improve the flexibility in your hip flexors and quadriceps muscles.
Last but not least, a few more trainings to take in order to maintain your knee health!
Preventing knee pain:
- Stretch your legs before and after physical activity.
- Use knee pads to prevent bursitis, especially if you have to kneel a lot.
- Wear shoes that fit well and offer enough support.
- Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening.
- If you’re overweight, work to drop some pounds so there’s less stress on all of your joints, including your knees.
Here you have it, a list that can be helpful in the long run. Don’t neglect your health!