The knee joint is one of the body’s toughest working parts, which is why it’s so prone to injury. Receiving a knee injury can keep you from your job, or off the playing field if you’re an athlete, for quite some time. Some people opt for medication to help numb the pain, however, there are better, safer options out there to help you on your road to recovery with physical therapy.
Keep in mind that one of the most effective, long-term solutions is physical therapy if you are one of the millions of Americans struggling to determine what to do with your knee pain. In fact, recent studies and research on knee pain suggest that, under the guidance of your physical therapist, exercise and movement are one of the best ways to improve knee function and minimize long-term knee pain.
The following 5 knee exercises are ones that your physical therapist may teach you, however, there are many others designed to help strengthen surrounding muscles, improve balance and increase range of motion in the knee.
To learn more about the benefits of physical therapy for knee pain, contact our clinic today. We’d be happy to set up an appointment for you.
Stretches for knee pain
1. Step Ups
To perform this kind of a stretch, stand straight on the lowest step of a staircase or a step bench at a height recommended by your physical therapist. Tighten your abs and level your pelvis, then bend one knee and slowly lower the opposite toes to the floor and rise back to the standing position on the step.
2. Prone Straight Leg Raises
Start this stretch by rolling over onto your stomach, keeping your legs straight. Squeeze the glutes and lift one leg up toward the ceiling, holding the position for 3 to 5 seconds. Do about 10 reps and then switch sides, or as many as recommended.
3. Wall Squats
You can use an exercise ball or just a wall in this exercise. During your physical therapy appointment, your physical therapist can show you how to do it either way so that it’s easier for you to do it at home too.
Start by standing with your back against a wall with your feet about shoulder-width. Bend your knees slowly, keeping your entire back pressed to the wall until your things are about parallel to the floor. Try to hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then use your glute muscles to work slowly back up to the standing-against-the-wall position.
4. The Bridge
While still lying on the floor, bend both of your knees and keep your feet about hip-width apart. Engage your glutes to lift your hips as high as possible, creating a bridge. You’ll definitely feel the hamstrings and glutes working. Then, try lifting your toes up while anchoring your heels into the floor. Gently lower your hips back down briefly and then repeat as many times as recommended.
5. Straight Leg Raises
Your physical therapist may recommend several repetitions of this stretch for each leg. Straight leg raises improve the strength in your quadriceps, which can support knee health, even if you currently have knee pain. Lie on your back on an exercise mat on the floor. Bend one knee and keep that same foot anchored to the floor. Straighten the other leg and lift it up to the same height as the bent knee. Make sure to keep your pelvis still using your abdominal muscles.
Why is it important to seek help if I’m having knee pain?
Your knee is a hinge joint, confined to forward-and-backward motions. Individually, your knees support more weight than the hips, 6 times your body weight when doing a squat. Proper movement of both your hips and knees allows complicated motions giving you the ability to stand, walk, run, and dance without falling over.
The hips and knees are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must function together in harmony in order for the body to function properly.
Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may cause issues to happen with your hips, and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another. It’s all connected! That’s why if you’re experiencing knee pain, it’s a good idea to get it checked out sooner rather than later.
Start working with a PT today to relieve your knee pain
There are many more knee exercises you may find helpful, but these are generally good for a wide range of people with knee pain.
It’s very important to see a physical therapist get an individualized diagnosis of your knee pain and training on the best knee pain exercises for your condition.
Don’t let knee pain keep you from living your best life. Schedule an appointment with your physical therapist today, and let them show you what your life can be like without nagging pain in your knees.