The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. The knee joint is supported by two smaller bones we fibula and patella. The knee bones are connected to the leg muscles by tendons, which help the knee joint to move. Ligaments, on the other hand, connects all 4 knee bones and serves as a stabilizing support for the entire knee during movement or action.
The knee may seem like a minor body part but without proper care, maintenance and nutrition, it can prove to offer a debilitating risk and detrimental to the bodily movement.
The knee provides general support to the upper legs. If pain persists or when you become very uncomfortable walking or even stretching your legs, it’s a sign that you may have something that is treatable or physically serious. Before starting with the symptoms and exercises we recommend this product for a faster recovery and don’t forget about an athletics knee compression sleeve.
Here’s common symptoms, causes and effects of knee pain to the human body.
- Full or partial inability to straighten the knee.
- Bone weakness or instability that causes minor falls to stumbling
- Popping or Crunching noises
- Sudden swelling or stiffness
- Redness and warmth
- ACL Injury – notably a sports injury. It is the tearing of anterior cruciate ligament
- Fractures – or those broken bones caused by sudden physical collision for which the body has no time to prevent.
- Torn Meniscus – a soft rubbery cartilage that can be torn if and when the knee is twisted due to excessive weight pressed or carried.
- Knee Bursitis – an inflammation of the bursae.
- Patellar Tendinitis – swelling of one or 2 tendons
- Mechanical Problems
- Loose Body happens when a piece of broken bone interferes or is caught between joints.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome occurs when overextension of tissues causes tightness that causes friction to the femur
- Dislocated Kneecap happens when your patella slips out or moves to outside the knee
- Hip of Foot Pain- referred pain that is very uncomfortable when walking.
- Septic Arthritis is when a knee joint becomes infected that triggers swelling, redness and pain and most often accompanied by fever.
- Pseudogout is not the same as gout, but it looks or mistakenly to be gout. This is the build up of calcium-containing crystals in the joint fluid.
- Gout is the type or arthritis that occurs when there is a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joint.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is systemic and can affect any joint in the body. Known to be the most debilitating form of arthritis.
- OsteoArthritis is the wear and tear condition where the cartilage to deteriorates as one age.
- Risk Factors
- Lack of Flexibility or Strength
- Previous Injury
Strengthening Exercises for the Knee
1. Wall Calf Stretch
Calf muscles are often neglected even during stretching exercises. It may not impact daily routine or activities but for those who specialize in running or doing high impact workouts calf stretches needs to become a basic workout routine as they can impact and affect pain caused to the knee.
Here’s a simple video from Fitness Blender on How to Do a Standing Wall Calf Stretch
2. Heel Raises
After warming your calf muscles with a stretch, follow up the drill with heel raises. The purpose of this routine is to strengthen the calf muscles further to help and have better support for the knee.
This workout also provides toning and strengthening benefit to your whole leg muscle, especially your thigh.
Do 10- 30 reps and achieve twice daily to get the most benefit.
Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a proper hell raises from Choe Wilson
3. Partial Squats
Partial squats exercises improve overall strength, stability, coordination, and efficiency. This is the perfect routine to ensure your upper body weight is supported by your lower body.
This is especially true and necessary for ball sport players like soccer, basketball, and distance runners.
This workout evenly distributes upper body weight to increase agility and speed. With this routine in your program, you can ensure that your knee becomes stronger and more efficient in performing functional activities if you are not doing this for sports reasons.
4. Half-Kneel Hip and Quad Stretch
This is a good morning stretch that you should incorporate in your knee routine. This stretch overextends your leg muscles and brings flexibility to a whole new level. This entire pose works your quad muscles and your hip. It provides a well-rounded support for you knee strength and stability.
This work out improves your mobility and upper leg strength all while giving your knee the workout it needs to be able to hold your upper body weight while working out, performing sports or simply conducting strenuous activities.
Here’s a tutorial from Brandon LaRue on how to do Half Kneel Hip and Quad Stretch
5. Side-Lying Leg Lifts
A side leg raise is mainly to workout the abductor muscle group. The abductor’s muscle is responsible for thigh movement. These muscles help you move from one place to another, help in sports performance that requires stable lower body coordination and most importantly in performing basic daily activities like walking or climbing.
What his workout does for the knee is that it helps regulate flexibility and stability in the leg area, treating strength deficiency and improving leg coordination.
Here’s how to effectively implement a Side-Lying Leg Lift from 3V
6. Straight-Leg Raise
This easy to perform strengthening exercise offers no strain or pressure to the knee, but it helps activate and improve strength and stability of the quads.
This movement serves as a holistic workout for the entire leg muscle group and provides a secondary workout benefit to abs and obliques. This also provides a good workout for the back.
Here’s how to do a Straight Leg Raise from Livestrong
7. Step Ups
Step Up is a proven home weightloss routine for busy individuals, especially for moms. This was developed to offer brief and easy sweat session with high-impact results. In the same manner that its effective for weightloss, Step ups have been seen and qualified as an effective strengthening workout for the lower body. It targets the muscles of the legs, the knee, and the hip. It regulates blood flow allowing for easier and better circulation of needed enzymes in the body.
Step Up exercise has the same effect as jogging and running. It is important that if you are doing this for a knee pain routine, start with the wall calf raise and the heel raises to warm your legs and be able to do this without the strain on your feet and heel.
Here’s a Basic Step Up/Step Down Exercise by MGH Sports Physical Therapy
8. Short Arcs
The Short Arc quad has been prescribed by therapists to patients with the chief complaint on walking difficulty as an effect of knee or hip pain.
This lower extremity routine is guaranteed to alleviate the physical pain in those areas when done properly and carefully.
This movement, as simple as it is is also effective in improving strength and endurance for the quad muscles.
When one is suffering from muscle weakness or limited functionality due to injuries or surgical procedure in the knee, this routine is used to re-establish stability and regain functionality.
Here’s how you can perfrom Short Arc Quads from CHA Healthcare
9. Long Arcs
Long Arch Quad is another knee targeted routine that is commonly used in physical rehabilitation centers for injury or surgically related knee pain problems. This movement strengthens the quadriceps, enhances knee mobility for those who have suffered functionality loss, and this is very ideal to eliminate knee stiffness for injured or medical patients.
As you engage your quads, you will feel like your muscles are pulling together to go up your thigh. For first timers, you may find even here crunch on your knees as you start to lift and overextend your legs to perform the workout.
Here’s a Basic Long Arc Quad from Visiting Nurses Association Health Group
10. The Clam
The very purpose of this routine is to strengthen both glutes to provide support for the knees and prevent excessive weight training to penetrate the inner side of the knee.
This is specially prescribed knee training workout for almost anyone suffering from knee pain.
Here’s how to it from Chloe Wilson
If you are trying to regain functionality in your lower extremities, it is wise to start with the basics before going and testing yourself to do harder routines. The above exercises are guaranteed basic and effective for any person at any age suffering from knee pain. As you progress and manage to hold on to longer repetitions, try to do some variations of the list above to challenge your strength and stability, which later on will enhance and improve your overall knee health and fitness.
There are dozens of knee pain exercises out there, but you should be careful in what to incorporate into your routine.
The following exercises are good for overall endurance, flexibility and strength training but they are ill-advised if you are still in the primary stages of doing your knee workouts.
- Deep Squats
- Hurdle Stretches
Any form or variation of the above will put a great strain on your knee and will do further damage than help.
Additional 5 Tips from Physical Therapists to Relieve Knee Pain
1. Work Those Butts
All too common is that when one suffers from knee pain, it’s because of weak larger muscles. In this instance, it’s the glutes. If the glutes are weak, it causes the pelvis to drop, and the femur falls inward as a result. The imbalance then creates a painful pressure on the hip, causing stress to the knee and ankles every time you put your step forward.
2. Work Those Thighs
When weakness consumes the lower extremities, the tendency is that we spend more time sitting than standing. As a result, the inner thigh muscle and the hamstrings become overworked which then offers a compressive force to the knee joint, which in turn will cause you to feel like your knees are going to break every time you attempt to stand up.
3. Strengthen Your Core
Abdominal muscle weakness causes the pelvis to tilt forward which results affects the lumbar region as it slowly shifts and affects the bones in your legs.
A well-toned and strong abdominal muscle will help you hold your lower back region and will be beneficial in your lower extremities performance in the long run.So when visiting the gym or when you have time, always engage your core and build the muscle to help your lower body.
4. Keep Up a Good Weight
With different body type, ages and food preferences, it’s really difficult to keep up a good weight especially if you have medical conditions that affect your metabolism.
However, what may be the case of obesity or undernourishment, it is wise to learn how to eat and live healthily and maintain a good weight that is both proportionate to your height, lifestyle and medical condition.
5. Keep a Healthy Feet
Good heels may look good on your feet, but they can significantly strain your lower extremities. Some high-heeled shoes are made to look sexier and not comfortable. Prolonged usage of high heels has a very debilitating effect on the lower body. Never trade comfort and good health for sexy.
Put on your heels once and a while and stretch your legs after that to loosen restricted vessels and veins.
Check out more info on exercise withdrawal here
A lot of people suffer from knee injuries every day. This isn’t really a surprise since the knees are the most commonly used parts of our body.
By simply walking up the stairs, the pressure applied on your knee joints is four times that of your body weight. Thankfully, there are strengthening exercises that can help relieve pain in the knee.
Here are some of them:
- Wall Slide
To do this, simply lean back against a wall. Bend your knees to 30 degrees while gently sliding down your body against the wall. Then straighten your body up again and move slowly. Repeat five to ten times.
- Bent-Leg Raises
To perform, sit in a chair and straighten one leg by pushing towards the air. Hold your body in this position for up to a minute, then gently bend your knee to lower the leg about halfway into the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds and go back to the start. Perform up to four reps on each leg.
- Straight-Leg Raises
Sit in a chair and rest your foot in another chair. Lift your foot for a few inches off the chair while making sure that your legs are straight. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds before going back to resting position. Repeat these steps for 5 to 10 times.