Knee Pain is a common ailment but it can hamper the quality of your life considerably. It does not matter how old or how active you are; anyone can suffer from knee pain. The knee joint bears the weight of our body and any damage to the knee joint can restrict your movement. There are several medical conditions that can cause knee pain such as injury, sprained ligaments, arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, etc., or it could simply be due to wear and tear of your knee joint due to overuse. Exercise and stretching can help you to alleviate the pain and obtain relief.
Here are some effective knee strengthening exercises that you can do to lessen your knee pain. However, before you start, you must take the advice of your healthcare practitioner or doctor to ensure that they are safe for you.
The Heal and Calf Stretch
Imagine that you are trying to push a wall but without stressing out your muscles. You must first stand facing a wall with both arms pressing against it. Now take one foot back as far as goes and bend your other knee as much as you can comfortably. Change your legs and repeat two times.
The Quadriceps Stretch
This is one of the most effective knee strengthening exercises and very easy as well. All you have to do is stand and pull your leg one at a time backwards. To maintain your balance, hold on to a chair and then pull your ankle with your free hand as much as you can. Repeat the exercise for both legs at least two times. This exercise strengthens your thigh muscles and brings in more flexibility.
The Leg Extension
This exercise helps to strengthen your quadriceps by using your own body weight. For this, you will need to sit in a chair with your back straight. Now raise one leg straight in front of you and hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly lower your leg and repeat with the other side. Do this exercise with one leg at a time for at least ten times. As the knee is a weight bearing joint, it is important that you eat healthy and reduce weight while continuing with the execise.
The Hamstring Stretch
For this exercise, you have to lie down flat on your back and pull one leg up as far as it goes. To support your leg, hold on to your leg at the thigh with both hands. Take your time and slowly lift your leg and feel the stretch in your upper thighs. Change leg and repeat two times at least. This exercise targets the hamstring muscles present at the back of your thigh.
The Half Squat
While the three exercises above aim at stretching your muscles, the half squat is meant to strengthen the muscles of your quadriceps and hamstrings without putting strain on your knees. For this exercise, you need to stand in a slightly squatting position with your feet slightly apart. Stretch your arms in front of you or put them in your hips to balance yourself. Now bend your knees to squat slowly to reach a half squat position and hold your position for a few seconds. Slowly stand up again and repeat about ten times.
The Calf Raises
This exercise helps to make your calf muscles stronger and it is one of the easiest exercises to strengthen your knee muscles. Stand with your feet a little apart with your hands on your hips. Next, raise yourself as much as you can on your toes so that you are standing on the balls of your feet. Gently lower yourself back to the heels and repeat for about ten times.
The Hamstring Curl
This is one of the easiest knee strengthening exercises and targets your hamstrings to make them stronger. To do this exercise stand against a wall or use a chair to hold on to for balance. Bend your knee and lift one foot up so that the heel touches the back of your thigh. Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly lower your leg. Take a few breaths and do the exact same thing with the other leg. Repeat at least ten times for both legs.
This exercise will strengthen the muscles of your knee joint. For this, you will require a raised platform or you can use the stairs. Stand on the first step of the stair and gently lower one leg down so that the toes touch the floor. Take your leg back up and lower the other one while keeping your pelvis straight.
Knee exercises can help to avoid knee arthroscopic surgery which is a minimally invasive surgery to treat damaged knee joints. You can do these knee strengthening exercises anywhere you want and during any time of the day. If you are unable to do them all at once, you can break them down and do them whenever you can. As with most things, perseverance is the key. As you continue with the exercises, you are sure to feel improvements in your knee movement as well as experience reduced pain. However, as iterated, consult your healthcare practitioner before you start on any exercise regimen.
Dr. Prateek Kumar Gupta is highly trained arthroscopy and sports surgeon in AOSM. He treats sports injury and other orthopaedic injuries including foot, ankle, hip, elbow with a special interest in knee and shoulder issues that hinders patient/players quality of life.