Knee Pain Exercises:
Many people suffer from knee pain. Sometimes it can be directly attributed to an injury maybe many years ago, sometimes it may be as a result of arthritis but some knee pain simply appears for no apparent reason.
There are many recommended exercises to strengthen the muscles which support the knees but I have found that many of these actually put stress onto the knee joint and can cause further pain. While in a fit young athlete it may be a case of working through the pain I would suggest that if you feel ‘bad pain’ (as opposed to muscle working ‘good pain’) then it’s time to find another way to strengthen the muscle.
My favoured exercises for knee pain are those which strengthen the muscles which support the knee. The quadriceps muscle running down the front of the thigh and the gluteal muscles across your butt which keep your pelvis stable and in that way help with the tracking of the knee.
A bio mechanic check will highlight weakness in these areas. If you are cycling, running or thinking about raising the intensity or frequency of your exercise programme it would be worth getting this checked out. Knee pain caused by muscle imbalance will often only become apparent when you increase an aspect of your training programme. If you are taking part in active sport you are likely to find that a programme of squats, lunges, and specific gluteal exercises will really help.
If you feel that your knee pain could be caused by arthritis or general joint degeneration it is worth a visit to your GP for them to assess whether you would benefit from a referral for more investigation. Frequently in my experience clients are told by their GP to take painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs and given no other options. In these cases I have found the exercises described below can be hugely beneficial.
The exercises are simple and effective and put no strain on the joint. The basic concept is of working the muscles which are each side of your knee in order to keep it more stable. Strengthening the muscle which engages when moving from bent to straight ensures that you use muscle rather than putting stress on the joint when performing any movement involving your legs. Strengthening the gluteal muscles I will look at in another article as they are also implicated in low back pain.
Moving your leg from bent to straight is a great and simple exercise as are straight leg lifts. There are many variations but I particularly like the way these video clips describe and demonstrate the exercises as they are closest to the way in which I choose to teach it myself.
The ‘knee dance’ leg lift I have had great success with and this is demonstrated and explained really well on this video clip
The classic bent to straight leg lift with support and straight leg lifts are also great for ongoing knee strength and they are explained and demonstrated well on this video clip
The exercises on the video clips are almost identical to those I teach in my classes and are explained well with close up views so if you’ve done these in my class you may find it beneficial to watch them and check your technique to get the best result from future classes. If you don’t come to class and have any questions do get in touch and I will be happy to help.
As an additional note I would add that these are exercises that I have had success with when working with clients suffering knee pain as well as rehabilitating from knee surgery. They are not necessarily suited to everyone and I would advise you to seek advice from a medical professional before starting an exercise programme. If you have problems with your knee locking or giving way you should certainly seek advice.