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11 Exercises That Help Decrease Knee Pain

Need Pain-Free Knees? Start Here!

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Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. These exercises are designed to help, not hurt. If you experience pain at any time during the exercise, stop. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

BONUS TIP: If you have increased soreness after doing these exercises, it may help to ice your knee or knees for 10 - 20 minutes. Place a bag of ice (or frozen vegetables) over the joint, with a towel between to protect the skin. Elevate your leg on a chair if ice alone is inadequate.
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • PT's commonly recommend that if you feel any pain, you either 1. stop immediately, or 2. you modify your movement so it's a smaller range of motion. For example, if you are trying to do leg lifts, but feel pain, try to shorten the range of motion. You'll still benefit, and will work towards more range later! - 10/21/2014 1:46:46 PM
  • I find the wall sliding one hurts my knees a lot! It's that kind of pushing that sends a stabbing pain into the front of my kneecap.

    I went to my doctor about my crunchy knees and she just said, oh, that's grains of cartilage coming loose, it's an age thing, (i.e. bugger all you can do about it, or at least that she was going to do about it). And another Dr said that the pain in my bum/sit bones was sciatica, even though it doesn't go down my leg, and isn't affected by walking 7 miles a day. So I don't really have a lot of faith in Drs
    - 9/9/2014 2:18:19 PM
  • Can we see pictures of these please? - 9/8/2014 10:58:46 PM
  • A lot of my knee issue seem have come from 60+ years of being flatfooted! One thing that helps is to make myself wear tie shoes a lot more and a lot of problems get better.
    I "kneed" all the good suggestions I can get. Use a lot of the recommended exercises already. - 9/8/2014 7:03:29 PM
  • Thanks Jen for the excellent article.
    I have bad knees (dislocating). As a teen it was suggested I start cycling. Lucky for me I love it. It has helped stabilize my knees and I am healthier for it. I had to have knee surgery to repair a broken knee cap (wrong place wrong time when I fell). They told me after the surgery that I had advanced osteoarthritis. I never knew because the cycling - indoor in the winter - keep my knees limber.
    I printed the article and will be using the exercises! - 9/8/2014 11:13:15 AM
  • I have knee issues and have had them since I was a child. And then I have injured both knees a few times. That being said, traditional thinking is that we should strengthen our quads to improve knee stability and strength. Current research indicates that it is more likely hip weakness that causes knee issues. I am trying to do more work on my hips now, though quads and hamstrings aren't going to be neglected! - 9/8/2014 8:42:55 AM
  • I notice a comment about focusing on strengthening the quads. My understanding is that we don't want to work the quads and neglect the hamstrings, as this will in fact put uneven pull on the knee. We need to work both, so that both are equally strong. - 8/14/2014 8:44:27 PM
  • would like to see a video demonstrating these 11 tips. It's so much easier to do along with someone than written lists for me. But of course the written ideas are better than nothing. Thanks. - 8/4/2014 1:51:01 AM
  • Good exercise suggestions. Thanks - 7/22/2014 6:20:23 AM
  • Thanks so much for this info. I've had knee pain for years due to a previous injury about 20 years ago.

    Photos or a video would be a great addition so we know that we are doing them correctly! - 7/20/2014 12:54:51 PM
  • Thanks so much Jen!!

    This information will help so many! Great write!!!!

    Thanks again - 7/20/2014 10:53:24 AM
  • Mmm. Feeling great after these moves :) Thanks for the great tips! - 5/25/2014 12:17:04 PM
  • A video would be very much appreciated. :) - 5/19/2014 2:04:49 PM
  • GARRIE1
    Well, I'm afraid I'm one of the millions who suffer with knee pain. I'm always looking for good information and helps to keep my knees relatively strong. These exercises are really good. I agree, however, that some of them are a little bit confusing...the instructions for "knee flexion," "hamstring stretch," and "hamstring curl" were particularly hard for me to visualize. Most of them are fairly clear to me. (If I actually try to do them, they make more sense.)

    As an aside, I rediscovered bicycling...hadn'
    t done much since I was a kid...and I must say that my legs - knees included - are stronger than they've ever been before. I have a long way to go before my legs are Hollywood glamorous, but, well, I'm okay with that. :)

    - 2/19/2014 9:49:49 AM
  • I just had knee surgery, meniscus tear, MCL damage, bone spurs and cartilage lesions. Some of these exercises are in my routine to do but modified. However, that's all I can do no other exercises allowed surgeon is afraid if I turn or jerk wrong I could do more damage. Sad to say I gained 4 pounds since this all started and I cut my calories to 1000 a day I just lay all day except when I exercise then I am in a recliner supporting the leg. The key is exercise to strengthen the Quad muscle this helps to support the knee and keeps it strong. - 2/10/2014 10:18:34 AM
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