Chronic knee pain affects almost one-third of Americans over the age of 50.
If you’re one of them, you know how the pain of achy, arthritic knees can impact your life, leaving you unable to perform the activities you love, preventing you from getting the exercise you need and even keeping you from spending time with your family.
But, if you don’t want to go through the agony of surgery or even the inconvenience of attending physical therapy sessions, there are some simple exercises you can do at home to help alleviate your chronic knee pain and get back to the life you love.
#1 – Straight leg raises
This exercise strengthens your quadriceps muscle, a common contributor to knee pain.
All you need to do is lie down on your back and bend one knee, placing your foot flat on the floor. Lift your other leg straight up to the height of your opposite knee then repeat on the other side. Do three sets of 15.
#2 – Side lying leg lifts
Lie on one side with your legs straight and together. Bend the elbow closest to the ground and use your hand to support your head.
Slowly lift your top leg to your shoulder height and lower. Do 15 – 20 repetitions and then repeat on the other side.
#3 – Calf raises
This exercise is as simple as it sounds.
Just stand with your feet flat, holding onto the back of a chair or a cabinet for support. Slowly raise up onto your toes and lower. Do three sets of 15 each.
#4 – Chair sits
The name pretty much tells you everything.
Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Push your bottom back and down as if you were going to sit down in the chair and then raise up again. Repeat 15 times.
Chair sits give you the benefit of squats without the potential damage to your knees since you’re not lowering yourself as far.
#5 – Hamstring stretch
Just like weak quadriceps muscles can cause pain, tight hamstrings can also be behind your knee problems.
This stretch helps to release your hamstring muscle and should always be done in a gentle manner.
Simply lie on your back in a doorway with your hips in line with door. Leave one leg flat while you raise your other leg straight and place it against the doorjamb to stretch the back of your thigh. Keep a slight bend in your knee and hold for a count of 15.
You can also use a belt or a yoga strap looped under the bottom of your foot to perform the stretch if you prefer.
Things to remember
While all of these exercises can help your knees feel much better, there are some things to remember…
Never perform an exercise that is causing your chronic knee pain to worsen. Muscle soreness is fine but sharp or shooting pain in your joints is not what you’re going for.
And remember, the old saying — “move it or lose it” — is true. So even if these exercises are hard for you to do, at least try low impact exercises like walking and swimming to improve your knee pain.
Chronic knee pain doesn’t have to ruin your life and you don’t have to end up in surgery to fix the problem. Start the exercises above today to strengthen and stretch your leg muscles and get rid of that knee pain for good.