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.

Hamstring Strain Stretches & Exercises

These hamstring stretches and exercises should help with a hamstring strain. The hamstrings help us walk, lift our legs backwards, and bend our knees. When you have a hamstring strain, all movements can be very painful.

The first exercise will be on your stomach in the prone position. Try to keep your leg as straight as you can, but it might bend slightly. You will do a leg extension movement. Lift your leg slowly off the ground, but you don’t have to go high. Keep your hips on the ground while lifting your leg, and slowly come back down. Start off with 10, and work your way up to 20-25. If that becomes easy, then you can add light ankle weights.

The next exercise is still on your stomach. Now you will do a hamstring curl. This time, keep your upper leg or thigh on the ground, and bend at your knee. Bring your foot towards your buttocks as far as you comfortably can, and then slowly come back down. Start off with 10, and work your way up to 20-25. If that becomes easy, then you can add light ankle weights.

Now you will roll over onto your back, and prop your knees up into a hooklying position. You will do a simple bridge. Have your feet about shoulder width apart, and bring your bottom off the ground into a bridge position, and slowly come back down. Start off with 10, and work your way up to 20-25. If this becomes easy, then you can do one leg at a time by lifting the other into the air.

The last ones will be standing up. There are many ways to do a hamstring stretch, and you can check out the hamstring stretching video for other options. Here you will prop the heel out in front of you of the leg you want to stretch. Try to keep your hips forward and your back straight. Lean forward and down, but you don’t have to touch your toes. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times. The last exercise is a lunge. Put the leg in front that you want to exercise. Try to keep the foot in the back pointed forward. For this lunge, your back knee will bend down to the ground. Some like to stretch further, and keep the back knee straight, but it will be harder to do. Then slowly come back up. Start off with 10, and work your way up to 20-25.

Related Videos:

Hamstring Stretches for Tight or Sore Hamstrings.

Hamstring Strengthening Exercises & Stretches.

VMO Strengthening Exercises

The VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique) is basically your inner quad muscle. This part of the muscle is very important for proper tracking of the kneecap (patella). If you have a tracking issue, these exercises might help.

For the first exercise, you will lie down on your back. Put the leg you want to work straight out, and the other one propped up. You want to keep the leg you are working locked out straight, and then slightly turn your foot outward so your leg externally rotates. Then slowly lift the leg, like you are scooping something up with your foot. Bring it about level to the other leg, and then slowly come back down. Do this 10 times, and then you can work your way up to 20-25 if they become easy.

Now you will prop both legs up. Take a ball or a big pillow, and place it between your knees. Squeeze your knees together into the ball or pillow, and at the same time, go up into a bridge position lifting your bottom off the ground. Try to squeeze the ball the whole time, but if you can’t, you can relax once you come back down. Do this 10 times, and then you can work your way up to 20-25 if they become easy.

The next exercises will be standing up. Again, take the ball or pillow and squeeze it between your legs. While squeezing, slowly go down into a squat position. Make sure you stick your bottom back and your knees stay behind your toes. Then slowly come back up. Try to squeeze the ball the whole time, but if you can’t, you can relax once you come back up. Do this 10 times, and then you can work your way up to 20-25 if they become easy.

The last exercise will be a plié squat. Now you will have your feet slightly further than shoulder width apart, and turn your feet out to about a 45 degree angle. You will still stick your bottom back, and your knees will go outward at the angle, but still try not to cross over your toes. Do this 10 times, and then you can work your way up to 20-25 if they become easy.

Click here for some Quad Stretches.

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) Prevention Exercises

DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, can be a very serious and life threatening situation. Many times DVTs happen when someone is very inactive from either a surgery or a long trip where they can’t get up and walk around.

Some signs of a DVT are swelling in the leg or legs, redness in the leg, warm to the touch, and tenderness to touch. So here are some simple exercises you can do to help prevent a DVT.

All these exercises will be performed sitting down because most likely you will be in a plane or car seat doing these. The first one will be an ankle pump. Hold your foot slightly off the ground and pump your foot up and down, pointing and flexing the foot. You only need to do about 10-15 of each exercise, but make sure you are doing both sides. Do these about every 30 minutes to an hour.

Now with both feet flat on the ground, bring your heels up, and then come down and bring your toes up alternating back and forth. Do this about 10-15 times. Next take your knee, and bring it up towards the ceiling and then come back down. Now you’re getting your hip and knee moving. Repeat 10-15 times as well.

The last thing you want to do is cross your leg over the other, and massage the calf muscle. You don’t have to do any specific massage, just make sure you are getting the muscles moving and keeping the circulation flowing.

Knee Arthritis Stretches & Exercises

Buy the Knee Arthritis WorksheetThese knee arthritis stretches and exercises are simple to do and should provide some relief from knee arthritis pain. They are also great for keeping your knees nice and fit.

The main muscles around your knee are your quad muscles, your hamstring muscles, and your calf muscles. So it’s important to stretch and exercise these muscle groups. Let’s start with stretching first.

The first stretch is for your calf muscles. Start off with your legs out in front of you. You can bend up the leg you aren’t using towards you in a comfortable position. Keep the leg you want to stretch out in front of you. Take a stretch strap, dog leash, belt, or towel and wrap it around the ball of your foot. Relax your foot, and pull the strap towards you stretching your calf muscle. You should feel the stretch under your leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and do three of them.

The next stretch is for the hamstrings. You can use a strap, but this one will be without one. Keep your leg that you want to stretch out in front of you. Try to keep your back straight and just bend at your hips. People often want to curl their back so they can touch their toes, but you are not getting the best hamstring stretch when doing this. Keep your leg straight and pull your toes towards you to get an extra stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

The last stretch is for your quad muscles. This time you will lie on your stomach to stretch. If you can’t lie on your stomach, you can lie on your side, but make sure your thigh stays in a straight line with your body and doesn’t come forward when stretching. Wrap the strap or dog leash around your ankle, and then lie on your stomach. Bring the strap up and around your shoulder so you are comfortable. Then pull the strap towards you bringing the lower leg towards your bottom. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds doing three of them.

Now we will move on to the exercises. The first exercise is going to be a quad set. Put your leg straight out in front of you again. Sometimes you won’t be able to get your knee completely on the ground. You can use a towel roll underneath your knee as a target. Activate your quad muscle by squeezing it and pull your toes toward you at the same time. This will push your knee into the ground. Try to hold this for 5-10 seconds and do 10 of them.

Next you will do a short arc quad (SAQ). For this, you will use a foam roll or a rolled up beach towel. You want something big so you have a good bend in your knee. Prop your leg over the roll with your knee on the roll. Try to keep your knee on the roll the whole time, and then lift your foot in the air until your leg is straight. If you pull your toes towards you at the end, this will help activate all the muscles in the leg. Try not to go fast because then you are only using momentum. Go slow and controlled with your movements. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

For the next exercise, you will sit in a chair. This one is called a long arc quad (LAQ). This is similar to the SAQ where you want to go slow and controlled, and then bring your leg up straight out in front of you. Slowly come back down. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

Now you are going to stand up for the last exercises. Use a chair or counter top for balance with these. For the hamstring exercise standing up, you want to keep the top part of your leg as straight as possible in line with your body. It might try to come forward if your muscles are tight, but try to keep it down. Slowly bring your foot back behind you, like you are trying to kick your bottom. Make sure you are going slow and controlled with these. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

The last one is for calf strengthening. With your feet about shoulder width apart, and holding onto something for balance if you need to, come up on your toes bringing your heels off the ground, and slowly come back down. If that becomes easy, you can do this one foot at a time. Start off with ten and work your way up to 20-25.

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