If you suffer from occasional or chronic knee pain, you are far from alone. According to Classic Rehabilitation, 100 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, and knee pain is the second most common cause. Around a third of Americans report experiencing knee pain at some point in their lives and 15-20% of men are estimated to be afflicted.
But what can be done about it? Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to soothe your knee pain. One of the most effective is to do some simple stretching exercises. In today’s post, we will look at five stretches that can help painful knees.
First, though, it’s important to understand the various causes of knee pain.
What Causes Knee Pain?
Knee pain has many different causes and your treatment plan will partially depend upon what is causing yours. Some of the most common causes include:
- Overuse (for example, performing heavy exercise without adequate rest days)
- Obesity (carrying excess weight puts extra pressure on your joints)
- Ligament strains and sprains
- Recovering from surgery
If you are unsure what is causing your knee pain or how best to treat it, always see your doctor. We also suggest using a knee sleeve to help boost blood flow, improve flexibility, and allow your muscles to recover more quickly from injury.
5 Stretches to Help Soothe Knee Pain
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can help to ease knee pain and improve flexibility and range of motion to prevent further pain in the future.
Here are five stretches you might want to try. Anyone can do these stretches, regardless of fitness level. You can even perform them at work!
1) Leg Extensions
This exercise strengthens your quadriceps. It’s similar to what you would do with a leg extension machine in the gym, but this version is performed without the addition of any extra weight.
- Sit in a chair, facing straight ahead, with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.
- Moving from the knee, extend one leg as high as you can in front of you without lifting your buttocks off the chair. You should feel a squeeze in your thigh muscles.
- Pause for 1-2 seconds, then lower your leg.
- Repeat 10 times on each side.
2) Quadricep Stretch
Another one for your quadriceps, this variation is performed standing up. It’s also great for improving the flexibility in your hip flexors.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Bend one knee, bringing your heel up towards your glutes, and grab your ankle.
- Use your hand to gently tug your foot closer to your glute until you feel a stretch along your front thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds then release.
- Repeat twice on each leg.
If you’re struggling to balance, use a wall or the back of a chair for some extra support.
3) Calf Raises
Strengthening all the muscles in your legs can help to combat knee pain. This simple exercise specifically targets the lower legs and calf muscles.
- Holding on to a wall or the back of a chair for support if you need to, stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the floor.
- Slowly and with control, return to the starting position.
- Repeat in three sets of 10 repetitions.
4) Calf Stretch
Tight calves are a major cause of knee pain. This simple stretch will help you to loosen your calf muscles, which are attached to the back of your knees.
Do it like this:
- Stand facing a wall with your hands stretched out in front of you and pressed against the wall, palms down.
- Step one leg back.
- Keeping the back leg straight, slowly bend the front leg while using the wall to help support your weight.
- Repeat 10 times and then switch legs.
5) Standing Hamstring Stretch
Your hamstrings, like your calves, are attached to your knees and can be a major contributor to knee pain. This stretch helps to keep your hamstrings loose and flexible.
- Put your weight onto one foot and extend the other foot in front of you with the heel on the floor and toes pointing up to the ceiling.
- Bend your standing leg, keeping your other leg straight until you feel a stretch along the hamstring of the straight leg.
- If you wish, interlink your fingers and rest your hands on the calf of your bent leg for extra stability.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
If Your Knee Pain Continues
For best results, perform your stretching exercises regularly and consistently until your pain has abated. If your knee pain is consistent or gets worse, see your doctor or a physiotherapist, who will be best placed to advise you on a personalized treatment plan.