Knee & Leg Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Sciatica Stretches & Exercises

Sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, can have many different symptoms from nerve pain and numbness to tingling and weakness. The pain is most often felt in the buttock area or in the back of the thigh and calf. These sciatica stretches and exercises should help ease the pain.

The first stretch is called the pelvic tilt. You will roll back onto your back with your knees bent. You want to imagine pushing your belly button into the ground, or push your back flat onto the ground like you are squishing something. You can put your hand under the curve of your back, and try to push your back into your hand. Hold these for about 3-5 seconds.

Now you will do bridging. Push your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time.

Next will be a piriformis stretch. Cross the leg that is hurting over into a figure 4 position. Pull the good leg up towards your chest by grabbing underneath the knee. You can use a belt or leash to help pull the leg up if your hips are not very flexible. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and do three on each side.

Now you will do a sciatic nerve stretch/glide. Bend the knee of the injured side up, and grab your leg around the back of the thigh to support it. Pull your toes up like you are tightening your calf muscles. Slowly straighten your leg up towards the ceiling until you feel tension, but not pain. Then slowly come back down. This is a continuous movement, and you only want to do 10 a day.

The next stretches/glides will be sitting in a chair. The first movement will be a combination movement. Bend your head back into extension and kick your leg straight out at the same time. Then bend your head forward into flexion, and bend your knee back down. Alternate this movement 10 times.

Finally, you will prop the injured leg up on a small stool. Keep your leg straight, and try to keep your toes pointing the ceiling. Your leg might try to rotate, but try to keep it straight up. Then keeping your head in a neutral position and looking forward, sidebend to the opposite side. Make sure you are doing the correct technique with this, and only do 10.

Related Videos:

Sciatic Nerve Pain Stretches & Exercises

Piriformis Syndrome Stretches & Exercises

Groin Strain Stretches & Exercises

Groin strains can be very painful, and the whole inner thigh might hurt. These simple stretches and exercises should help the healing process.

The first stretch will be lying down on your back. This is a modified butterfly stretch, and if you are really sore, you should start with this one. Prop your knees up and put your knees and your feet close together. Then gently drop your knees out to the sides, opening up like a butterfly. Go until you feel a good, but not painful stretch. If you need more of a stretch, you can push down on your legs with your arms. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do three.

The next stretch is called an active assisted hamstring stretch because you are actively doing the stretch. Grab the back of your thigh, and bring your hip to about 90 degrees. Slowly start to straighten your leg until you feel a good stretch as seen in the video. Not everyone will be able to straighten their knee completely. Do three sets of 30 seconds on each side.

Now you will do some exercises. The first exercise is going to be a simple straight leg raise (SLR). You want to squeeze your muscles tight to lock out the knee and pull your toes towards your head to keep the whole leg straight. This will work your hip flexor muscles when you lift your leg off the ground. Use slow controlled movements to make sure you are using the muscles and not momentum. Start off with ten, and work your way up.

Then you will lie on your side with the leg you want to work on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line, and bend your top leg in front of or behind the bottom leg. Keep the bottom leg straight and try not to bend your knee. Lift your leg off the ground only about 4-6 inches. Start with 10-15 and work your way up. If you have ankle weights, you can add those when it becomes easy.

The next exercise will be a side plank with hip drops. You can do this modified with your knees bent and on the ground, or you can get into a full plank position. Make sure your elbow lines up with your shoulder, and that your body is in a straight line. Go up into the side plank position, and then slowly drop your hip almost to the ground. Then come back up into the plank position. Start off with about 10 of these.

Finally you will stretch your inner thigh/adductor muscles. In a tall kneeling position, put the let you want to stretch out to the side of your body. Point your toes forward, and try to keep your leg straight. Lean downward and away until you feel a stretch. Hold it for 30 seconds, and do it three times.

Related Videos:

Pulled Groin Pain Stretches

Inner Thigh Strengthening Exercises

Knee Anatomy

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

With knee anatomy, there is so much going on. When things go wrong in the knee, it can cause a lot of knee pain. In this video, I will go over some of the main muscles, tendons, and ligaments for a brief overview of the anatomy of the knee.

The two main bones of the knee are the tibia and femur bones. They come together to make the knee joint. The quadricep muscles are on top over the femur, and the quad tendon comes down over the joint and helps hold the patella (kneecap) in place. This is important because when the patella isn’t tracking like it is suppose to, it can cause a lot of pain, and sometimes people even feel a popping or grinding in their knee. This is often the result of a weak VMO (inner quad muscle), and/or a tight IT band.

If you flip the knee model over, you can see where your menisci are located. You have your medial and lateral meniscus. I like to call them the suction cups of the knee. When they get torn, the knee can become unstable and painful. Many times people will describe it like their knee is trying to give out on them.

On the inside of the knee you have your cruciate ligaments. These are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL). You hear about these often with football and soccer players tearing their ACL. The ACL is more common of a tear, but you can tear both. These ligaments prevent the knee from sliding forward and backward, and your knee will become very unstable if they are torn.

You also have the fibula bone, which is the smaller bone next to the tibia, and it has some important attachments and rolls of the knee as well. The femur does a rolling motion on the tibia when the knee is bent, and when that is not a smooth movement, it can be painful.

The calf muscles (gastrocnemius/gastroc) and the hamstring muscles each cross over the knee joint. So when they are tight, they put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, and can cause a lot of pain through out the knee. Stretching these muscles are very important to help keep the joint moving smoothly and painlessly.

The quad muscle and tendon are also very important to stretch because when they are tight, they put extra pressure on the patella, and basically push it into the groove of the femur, which can cause pain and degeneration.

There is so much more going on in the knee, but those are some of the main things you are going to hear about or reasons why you might be having pain. Make sure you check out the stretching videos for all those muscles!

Mentioned Videos:

Patellofemoral Syndrome Exercises & Stretches

Meniscus Tear Stretches & Exercises

Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises, Real-Time Routine

Real-Time Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises

Knee pain is very common, and osteoarthritis, or OA, is one of the main causes of knee pain. This real-time video will show you a 12 minute stretching and exercising routine you can do to help keep the pressure from tight muscles off your knee joint.

Knee pain can also be caused by weakness, and knee tendonitis, or knee bursitis. In more severe cases, you might have injured your meniscus or ligaments. This routine should help with all of these forms of knee pain as well.

For the first stretch, you are going to stretch your calf muscle, or gastrocnemius muscle. Keep your leg straight, and take the belt or leash and place it on the ball of your foot. Relax your leg and then pull your foot towards you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, 3 times.

Next is a hamstring stretch. There are many ways to stretch them, and you can check out the hamstring stretches video for other ways to stretch them. Lie down on your back and still keep the strap or leash on your foot. Keeping your leg straight, pull your leg up with the strap as far as you comfortably can. Try not to bend your knee. If it bends, back off a little because you are trying to stretch too hard. Hold for 30 seconds and do it 3 times.

The last stretch will be on your stomach, or in prone. This will stretch your quadriceps muscle. Take a belt or dog leash and wrap around your foot/ankle. Take the strap and gently pull your foot towards your buttocks until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and do it 3 times.

For the exercises, you are going to do a four way hip on the ground. The first exercise is going to be a simple straight leg raise (SLR). You want to squeeze your muscles tight to lock out the knee and pull your toes towards your head to keep the whole leg straight. This will work your hip flexor muscles when you lift your leg off the ground. Now roll over onto your side with the leg you want to work on the ground. You are going to work the bottom leg working your hip adductor muscles. Same as above, keep the leg straight.

Next, is going to be on your stomach, and this works your hip extensors. The last one of the 4 way hip will be on your side. The top leg is going to stay straight and pull your toes up towards you. Keep your body in a straight line as well. This is going to work your hip abductor muscles. Just start of with 10 of these, but go slow and controlled so you are working your muscles and not using momentum.

Related Videos:

Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises

Knee Strengthening Exercises & Stretches


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