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.

Shin Splints (Stretching)

If you frequently get shin splints, here are some simple stretches to help prevent or relieve them. Once you have checked this video out, you can watch the shin splint strengthening video to help keep them strong and prevent further injuries.

Shin splints occur very often in runners who are training for long distance running. The tibialas muscles become inflamed and irritated. Most of the time it is your anterior tibialis muscle, the one in the front, but occasionally they can be your posterior tibialis muscle, the one in the back. Make sure to go to a doctor to get evaluated because sometimes you can have a stress fracture instead of shin splints.

Start off by sitting in a long sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes downward as far as you comfortably can. You can add a little pressure to get an extra stretch. For more of a stretch, roll over and flatten your feet in a push up position, and push up on the top of your feet. Then you can try kneeling back onto your feet with your toenails on the floor, and lift up onto your toes as seen in the video.

Now you will see some stretches with a noodle or foam roll. Place the roll on the top of your knee, and roll it down your shin or anterior tibialis. Apply more body pressure to get more of a stretch. Then you can turn over and do the same thing with your calf. Roll down your calf muscle, or gastrocnemius muscle, and apply more body pressure for more of a stretch.

 

Shin Splints (Strengthening)

The key to preventing shin splints is to strengthen your muscles. Check out the stretching video for shin splints first, and then check out this video to keep the lower leg muscles strong to prevent them from happening again.

Start off my propping your ankle up or hang your foot off the bed or table so your heel doesn't touch the floor. Put the band around the ball of your foot for good resistance. First, push your foot down and up. This is called ankle plantarflexion. The next exercise will be standing. Rise up on your toes, and then rock back onto your heels. Hold onto something to start with to keep your balance.

Then you can add some dynamic movement with it, and try walking on your toes and then on your heels. Now you are going to drag your toe forward to strengthen the anterior tibilias muscle. Finally, you can use a step to get extra motion. Put the ball of your foot on the edge of the step, and drop your heel down as far as you can. Then push up as far as you can. If that becomes easy, try one foot at a time. 

 

Hamstring Strengthening Exercises

Here are some simple hamstring strengthening exercises to get your hamstrings stronger.  There are some more advanced hamstring exercises in the Swiss ball exercises once you master these. You may also want to check out the Hamstring Stretching Exercises.

The hamstrings are very important muscles, and they are usually involved with back pain, hip pain, or knee pain. Here are some simple hamstring strengthening exercises to get your hamstrings stronger. Once you master these, there are some more advanced hamstring exercises in the moderate Swiss ball exercises and the advanced Swiss ball exercises. You may also want to check out the Hamstring Stretching Exercises.

To begin these hamstring strengthening exercises, start off on your back for the first exercise. Bend your knees up into a hooklying position. You will do a bridging exercise by pushing your hips up off the ground. If that is easy, you can do the same thing with one leg at a time. Next, you are going to roll over on your stomach. Pull your heel up and back as far as you can to your bottom. Eventually you will want to add ankle weights for more resistance.

The next exercise is standing. Hold onto something to start off with so you can do the correct form. Keep the top part of your leg even with the leg you are standing on. Pull your heel back to your bottom as far as you can without bringing your knee up or flexing your hip. Now you are going to perform a squat. Make sure that your knees do not go in front of your toes. Keep your legs shoulder width apart, and push your butt back like you are going to sit in a chair. Your weight on your feet should be equal all around, not shifted to your toes or to your heels.

Finally, you are going to do a lunge. Again, make sure your knees do not go in front of your toes, and keep your upper body straight. You can see the modified versions of the squats and lunges in the knee strengthening video. 

 

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Buy sciatic nerve pain worksheetSciatic nerve pain usually occurs in the buttocks area, and it can often be caused from a tight muscle in the buttocks area called the piriformis muscle. People often describe the pain as achy, shooting, heavy, and just a pain in the butt...literally. This video will show you some simple stretches to keep the pressure off that sciatic nerve!

The first stretch for your piriformis will be on your back. Cross the leg over that is hurting into a figure 4 position. Grab the knee on the same side of the pain with your opposite hand, and pull it up and across your body to the opposite shoulder. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 3 times. The next stretch, you will keep the figure 4, and pull the good leg up towards your chest. You can use a belt or leash to help pull the leg up if your hips are not very flexible.

Finally, turn over onto all fours, or quadruped and cross the injured side in front of you. This is going to be a big stretch, so only do this if you are not feeling much of a stretch with the other exercises. Once you cross your leg over, lean down towards the floor to the opposite shoulder. 

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