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 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

Sciatic 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. 

Knee Stretches

Knee pain is very common, and OA or osteoarthritis is one of the main causes of knee pain. It can also be caused by weakness, tendonitis, or bursitis. In more severe cases, you might have injured your meniscus or ligaments. This video will show you some great stretches to keep the pressure from tight muscles off your knee joint.

The first stretch is bending the knee, or knee flexion stretch. You can use a belt or dog leash to help you slide your foot towards you. You can do this 10 to 15 times with a little pause at the end stretch. Next you want to move your kneecap, or patella around. This is important because your patella is attached to your quadriceps tendon and your patellar tendon. When those are tight, it is hard to bend your knee. Your leg needs to be straight and relaxed. You can push the patella up and down, superior and inferior, and side-to-side, medial and lateral. You can do this for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Now 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. The most important part of this stretch is to keep your back straight. Many people try to curl their backs to be able to touch their toes. Your hamstrings are attached to what is called the ischial tuberosity, or your butt bone. So if you bend at your back, you are not going to get a good hamstring stretch. Try to bend at your hips. 

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. 

 

Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings are very important muscles, and they work with the knee, hips, and back. When they are sore or painful, they can cause many problems. Hamstrings can be strained, sprained, or even completely torn. Many times people will feel pain in the back of their legs, behind the knees, or in the butt area. There are several ways to stretch your hamstrings, and some work better for some people than others. You don't have to do all these stretches, just pick one or two that work best for you. When you are stretching, make sure to hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds and do them 3 times. This video will show you ways to stretch your hamstrings lying down, sitting, and standing.

First, will be the stretches on your back. This stretch is called an active assisted 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. If your legs starts to shake and it is too hard to hold up, try using a belt or dog leash to help hold the stretch. This time you want to keep your leg straight the whole time. Try not to bend your knee, and gently pull your leg towards your head until you feel a good stretch.

Next, you will see some stretches sitting up. The most important part of this stretch is to keep your back straight. Many people try to curl their backs to be able to touch their toes. Your hamstrings are attached to what is called the ischial tuberosity, or your butt bone. So if you bend at your back, you are not going to get a good hamstring stretch. Try to bend at your hips. You can also do this stretch sitting on a couch or the side of a bed as shown in the video. Finally, you can stretch your hamstrings standing up. You can prop your leg on a step or chair. It is still important to bend at your hips and not your back. 

You may also want to check out the Hamstring Strengthening Exercises.

 

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