Exercises for Knee Pain
If you’re suffering with knee pain, the following exercises can help in reducing pain and promoting recovery. As always, if your pain is severe, or significantly affecting your normal activities, a full clinical examination from your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist is advisable. For further information on knee pain please see our separate guide to knee pain. Please stop any exercise that causes intense pain.
Straight leg raise (sitting)
Sit well back in the chair with good posture. Straighten and raise one leg. Hold for a slow count to 10, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat this at least 10 times with each leg. If you can do this easily, try it with light weights on your ankles and with your toes pointed towards you. Try doing this every time you sit down.
Straight leg raise (lying)
Place a rolled up towel under one knee. Straighten the knee by tightening your thigh muscle allowing the foot to just lift off the bed. Hold for a slow count of 10, then lower. Repeat 10 times each leg. Try doing it in the morning and at night while lying in bed.
Thigh squeeze sitting
In a sitting position, ideally with your back supported, place a rolled up towel under your knee. Straighten the knee by tightening your thigh muscle allowing the foot to lift off the floor but with the knee still resting on the towel. Hold for a slow count of 10, then lower. Repeat 10 times each leg.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Place a towel or belt around your foot and gently pull towards you to bend your knee until you feel it being comfortably stretched. Hold for 5 seconds. Straighten your leg as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Sit on a chair. Without using your hands for support, stand up and then sit back down. Make sure each movement is slow and controlled. Repeat for 1 minute. As you improve, try to increase the number of sit/stands you can do in 1 minute and try the exercise from lower chairs or the bottom two steps of a staircase
Step onto the bottom step of stairs with the right foot. Bring up the left foot, then step down with the right foot, followed by the left foot. Repeat with each leg for 1 minute. Hold on to the bannister if necessary. As you improve, try to increase the number of steps you can do in 1 minute and the height of the step.
Lean your back against a wall/door so you feel supported. Alternatively hold onto a chair or work surface for support. Squat down until your kneecap covers your big toe. Return to standing. Repeat at least 10 times. As you improve, try to squat a little further. Don’t bend your knees beyond a right angle.
Please stop any exercise that causes intense pain. If your knee pain is persisting despite all of the above, then please feel free to get in touch with us as you will likely require and benefit from a physiotherapy assessment and specific recommended treatments.
With thanks to Rehabmypatient for permission to use their exercise images.