According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 25 million American adults suffer from chronic knee pain resulting in millions of doctor visits every year. While some knee pain problems require surgery to correct, many people find relief through simple exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that support the knee and improve overall joint function.
At Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness, our team helps patients in Boonton, Pompton Plains, and Jersey City, New Jersey, get the customized care they need to relieve knee pain and enjoy greater mobility. If you have chronic knee pain, here are three exercises that just might help.
Leg raises are ideal exercises for relieving knee pain because they avoid putting strain on your knees. These exercises focus on your quadricep muscles located along the front of your thighs. Leg raises are performed while you’re lying down on your back, your belly (prone), or your side.
For the first version, lie flat on your back and bend your right knee so the bottom of your right foot is flat on the floor. Keeping your left leg straight, slowly raise it to the height of your bent knee, holding it in position for a count of five before lowering your leg. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, then switch legs.
For prone leg raises, lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Keeping your legs straight, tighten your buttocks and slowly lift one leg up toward the ceiling. Hold the position for a count of 3-5, then lower your leg and repeat 10-15 times before switching legs.
For the side version, lie on your side with one leg on top of the other. Bend your bottom leg to support your body. With the top leg straight, gradually lift it to about 45 degrees, hold for a count of five, then slowly lower your leg to the starting position, Repeat 10-15 times then switch sides.
When it comes to leg exercises, step-ups are versatile exercises that improve knee symptoms and prevent future pain in multiple ways. Specifically, step-ups help tone and strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, while also improving balance and mobility.
Like the other two exercises on this list, step-ups don't require any special equipment — just a single step or stair. You can also use a very low (and stable) bench or a special exercise platform if you have one.
To perform a step-up, use your left foot to “step up” onto the lower stair or platform (a low sidewalk curb can work, too). While keeping your hips level, slowly lower your right foot to the floor. Touch the floor with your toe, then lift yourself back to the starting position.
Repeat the step-up movement 10-15 times, then switch your legs. As your strength improves, you can gradually increase the height of your step or platform or touch the floor with your heel rather than your toe.
Extending along the back of each thigh, your hamstring muscles play a very important role in knee function, stability, and strength. There are several variations of this exercise designed to strengthen your hamstrings in two different ways — lying down or standing up.
For the lying-down version, lie on your stomach with your legs extended straight. Bending your knees, slowly bring your heels toward your buttocks as close as you can. Hold the position for a count of five, then slowly lower your legs to the starting position. Repeat 15 times, aiming for three sets of reps.
For the standing version, stand behind a chair, holding on to the back of the chair with one or both hands for stability. Bending one knee at a time, bring your heel as close to your buttocks as you can. Hold the position before slowly returning your foot to the floor and repeat 15 times for each leg. You can add lightweight ankle weights as you progress to increase muscle strength.
Find relief for your knee pain
Knee pain can be debilitating, but with the right medical treatment and a few lifestyle changes, you can relieve pain and even help prevent it from becoming worse. To learn how we can help you relieve your knee symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone at Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness today.