The 5 Best Exercises For Bad Knees

Written by: Chris

Updated on:

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Running places a lot of stress on the knee joints. Many running injuries, such as runner’s knee, specifically involve the knee joint. Many may further experience arthritis in the knee over time, causing pain. It is, thus, of utmost importance to ensure proper strengthening around the knee.

Strengthening exercises of the major muscles above and below the knee can provide stability and support, decreasing the constant stress the knee joint is exposed to in running.

Doing the following 5 exercises on a regular basis may lower your risk of knee pain, especially if you are already prone to having bad knee joints. They may also contribute to improvements in running form and power.

These exercises should be done in conjunction with a proper warm-up and cool-down including proper stretching techniques.

If any pain occurs, stop the exercise. It may be aggravating the issues associated with your bad knees. Always start slow and gradually increase the difficulty of any exercise.

Straight Leg Raises

The straight leg raise exercise focuses on quad strength. In many knee injury rehab programs, the goal is to strengthen the quadriceps to support and stabilize the knee.

How To

  1. Lie on your back on a bed or mat, with your legs straight.
  2. Bend one leg and plant your foot on the bed or mat.
  3. In a controlled movement, lift the remaining straight leg.
  4. Slowly lower.
  5. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets, for each leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • Engage the core to protect the lower back.
  • Add an ankle weight for more resistance.

Hamstring Curls

The hamstrings are the major muscles of the back of the top of both legs. They do the opposite movement of the quad muscles. Where the quads extend the knee, the hamstring muscles flex it.

How To

  1. Stand with good posture and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping the thighs parallel, slowly bend one knee back bringing the foot toward the buttocks.
  3. Slowly lower.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets for each leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use a support such as a bed or a chair in front, if needed.
  • For more of a challenge, add an ankle weight.

Partial Wall Squats

Squats work the quads and core muscles. As aforementioned, quad strength is important to reducing the risk of knee injuries or pain. It is not recommended to do a full deep squat with bad knees as that could cause further irritation. Thus, we introduce the partial wall squat.

How To

  1. Stand with good posture and your back against the wall.
  2. Your feet should be positioned hip-width apart and far enough out from the wall so that you can still see your big toes as you squat down.
  3. Engage the core and slowly slide down the wall to about 45 degrees.
  4. Hold at the end point for a few seconds.
  5. Push through the heels back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks

  • Contract the core throughout the exercise.
  • For additional comfort, an exercise ball can be placed behind the back to aid in the movement.

Calf Raises

The calf muscles are the major muscles supporting the knee from below.

How To

  1. Stand with good posture and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly come up on to your toes, lifting your heels off the ground.
  3. Slowly lower.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks

  • Stand near a chair or wall for support, if needed.
  • To progress, do off of the side of a step or stand on one leg at a time to complete the exercise.

Side-lying Leg Raises

Side-lying leg raises can increase the strength of your glutes and your abductors, the muscles along the outside of your legs. Strengthening the glutes and other muscles surrounding the hips can take some of the pressure off of the knee joints.

How To

  1. Lie on your side on a mat.
  2. Contract the core to stabilize the trunk of the body.
  3. Slowly lift the top leg.
  4. Slowly lower.
  5. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets for each leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • You can bend the bottom leg for a more comfortable position.
  • Keep the knee soft throughout the exercise.
  • An ankle weight can be added for a more challenging resistance.

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