Knee & Leg Pain

Top 10 Knee Pain Strengthening Exercises

Knee pain strengthening exercises should focus on strengthening the muscles that attach to and cross the knee joint. Strengthening these muscles around the knee, as well as hip and ankle muscles, will help keep the knee strong to relieve knee pain and reduce knee injury.

These are my top 10 favorite knee exercises.

Bridging is a great way to strengthen you hamstrings, glutes, and core. The clamshell also does an excellent job of strengthening the glutes and core. It also helps strengthen the IT band area.

Even thought the name is seated hip flexion, strengthening the hip flexors are also very important for knee strength. When these muscles are strong and working correctly, it will help make the knee strong as well.

Seated knee extension or long arc quads help strengthening the quad muscles. The quads are important because they not only help with knee extension, but they also help with proper tracking of the kneecap (patella).

Squats, lunges, and step ups are a little more challenging, but they strengthening almost all the muscles in the hip, knee, and lower leg.

Balance is also very important for strengthening the knee. Balance exercises focus on the smaller stabilizer muscles, and strong knee muscles and good balance go together.

A 4-way hip strengthens your hip flexors, hip extensors, hip abductors, and hip adductors. Don’t be fooled by the name “hip.” They are important for strengthening the knee muscles as well.

Finally, heel raises strengthen the calf muscles, and they cross over the knee joint.

Related Videos:

Knee Strengthening

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Calf Pain or Strain Stretches & Exercises

Calf pain often comes from a calf strain, which basically means you have torn calf muscle fibers in the lower leg. A calf strain can be mild to severe and will cause various levels of calf pain.

These stretches and exercises for should help relieve the pain.

You can do calf stretches sitting on the floor or standing up. When you are on the floor you can stretch it with a strap, and standing you can do several ways including a runner’s stretch. You can also stretch the soleus muscle, which sits under the calf or gastroc muscle. It’s important to stretch this muscle as well.

While you are on the floor, you can strengthen your calf muscle with a resistive band. Pushing your foot into plantarflexion will help activate and strengthen the calf.

It’s also important to strengthen your glutes and whole leg. When you have a calf strain, it can affect other muscles in the area. Doing a sidelying hip abduction is a great strengthening exercise for this.

Some great simple strengthening exercises in standing are calf raises, and calf eccentric lowers. This helps the muscle heal and strengthen. Balancing on one foot is also a great way to do this.

Some higher level exercises that you might not be ready for in the beginning are squats with a heel raise and “sneaky” lunges on your toes. These require a lot of balance and strength, so don’t try them until you are ready.

Related Videos:

Calf Strengthening Exercises

Calf Stretch Standing - Runner's Stretch

10 Best Knee Pain Stretches

Knee pain stretches are great for the several muscles that cross the knee joint and end at the knee joint. When any of them are tight, they can cause knee pain, knee stiffness, and difficulty walking. These are my favorite knee stretches to help relieve knee pain.

The first stretch is really a mobilization of the patella (kneecap). It does a great job of stretching out the muscles/tendons that hold the patella in place.

The next stretch is a heel slide. It also helps strengthen the knee as well. The stretch is a gentle way to stretch the quad muscle.

The next stretches stretch the calf, hamstrings, and IT band. All these muscles cross over the knee joint, so when they are tight, they put extra pressure on the joint.

The quad stretch is important because the quad tendon connects to the patella. If it is tight, it pushes the patella down into the femur bone, which can cause pain and degeneration of the joint.

The next stretches are for the groin, hip flexor, and adductors. Even though they don’t directly cross over the knee joint, if they are tight, they can cause pain and problems walking.

Thanks to Axis Scientific for giving us Dr. Mo Musclestein. Learn more about this muscle replica model and Axis Scientific's other great products.

Related Videos:

Knee Pain Relief Stretches & Exercises

Real-Time Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises

Knee & Hip Isometric Exercises

Sponsored Content: This video represents the honest opinions of Doctor Jo. Thank you to Activ5 for providing Doctor Jo with a free Activ5 to use. If you purchase the product from these links/ads, Doctor Jo will receive a commission.

Isometric exercises are used when you are not ready to perform strengthening exercises with full movements because you don't have enough strength yet, or because it hurts too much. Here are some isometric exercises for the lower extremities.

Today I'm using the Activ5 to help me track the exercises. Click here to purchase the Activ5.

Sometimes after an injury or surgery, you might be on precautions, and not be allowed to do certain movements yet. Isometric exercises are a great way to get the muscles working again without the movement.

The first exercises are quad sets. Sit in long sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. If you want, put a rolled towel underneath your knee to give yourself a target. Then squeeze your knee down into the roll towards the ground. Hold it for 3-5 seconds, and do ten of them. If you want to see how hard you are pushing, and track your progress, you can buy equipment that helps with this.

Next is a hamstring set. Bend up your knees in a hooklying position. Push your heel down into the ground and hold it for 3-5 seconds, do this 10 times.

The next two are hip abductor and adductor isometric exercises. First take a belt and wrap it around your thighs just above your knees. Push outwards toward the belt like your legs are opening up like a clamshell. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and repeat 10 times.

Finally, take a ball or pillow folded in half, and put it between your knees. Squeeze into the ball and hold for 3-5 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Related Videos:

Knee Isometric / Knee Setting Exercises

Real-Time Knee Pain Exercises & Stretches

Runner's Knee Pain Exercises & Stretches

Runner’s knee, aka patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and chondromalacia patellae, is very common in runners. Runner’s knee symptoms often come from tight muscles causing knee pain and imbalances. This video has some runner’s knee treatment exercises and stretches.

So the first stretch is for the hamstrings. You can stretch the hamstrings in many different ways. It not only helps relieve knee pain, but it also helps relieve hip and back pain.

The next stretch is for the quads. If the quads are tight, it can cause extra pressure on the patelloemoral or kneecap area.

When you have a tight IT band, it can cause the kneecap to not track properly. Runners also tend to have a lot of IT band pain. This stretch will help relieve knee pain as well as hip pain.

Strengthening the outer hip muscles is just as important for runner’s knee relief. The gluteus medius is a very important muscle to keep strong. You can strengthen this area by doing sidelying hip abduction and clamshells exercises.

Other great strengthening exercises for the knee and hips are straight leg raises lying down on your back. Other great ones to help strengthen your gluteus maximus and your hamstrings are lying on your stomach.

Another very important muscle to strengthen is your vastus medialis oblique (VMO). The VMO helps keep the patella tracking properly. Squats with a ball squeeze are a great way to relieve runner’s knee symptoms. Also, side steps ups or lateral step ups can not only help heal a runner’s knee injury, but it can help prevent it as well.

Related Videos:

Real-time Knee Pain Stretchs & Exercises

Knee Pain Relief

Pages

Subscribe on YouTubeGot Questions? Click here to send me an email.

Never miss another Ask Doctor Jo video. Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel.


 


DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website are not medical advice or a treatment plan and are intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. They should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, or physical condition. Don’t use this website to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they give you. Consult with your healthcare professional before doing anything contained on this website. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Ask Doctor Jo, LLC and its officers for any and all losses, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims that arise from your use or misuse of this website’s content. Ask Doctor Jo, LLC makes no representations about the accuracy or suitability of this content. Use of this website is at your sole risk. 

AFFILIATE LINK DISCLAIMER: This site contains affiliate links and ads to purchase various products. When you click on links and ads to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the Amazon Associate Program.