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How To Strengthen Knee Joints

Exercise And Knee Pain

How to Strengthen Your Knees

If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.

Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.

Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.

Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.

Maintain Your Ideal Weight

With regard to optimal joint health, it is necessary for us to maintain our ideal body weight. Carrying excess body weight adds stress to our joints, especially the weight-bearing joints. Studies have found that weight loss significantly reduces knee pain, function, and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis.

How Can I Strengthen My Unstable Knees

With a knee strengthening program adapted to the cause of the instability, your lifestyle, and goals. You could start with the exercises mentioned above, using a chair to help you keep balance.

If you have severe instability, please consult with your doctor or physical therapists before undergoing any new exercise program.

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How To Treat Knee Pain

The support of the family doctor in managing knee pain without surgical treatment is growing. This is great news! The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests exercise-based therapy and knee strengthening exercises as the foundation for treating knee osteoarthritis and knee painrelated issues and, if necessary, weight loss should be encouraged for all patients with any sort of knee pain.

It is common that patients will work with a physical therapist who can help determine exercises that are most appropriate for them at certain stages of pain and limited mobility. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International recommends non-pharmacological methods, including patient education programs, weight reduction, coping strategies and exercise programs for treatment, including alternative therapy programs like rolfing.

Now that we know that exercise is one of the best things you can do to help your knees, lets consider what specific knee strengthening exercises can be done. First, the reason exercise is so great is because it is important to maintain a range of motion and to do that, you need the muscles that support the knees to be strong and healthy!

There are other more advanced, dynamic exercises for knee pain, such as shallow to deep squats, step-ups, weightlifting and leg lifts. You can start off with easier versions of each of these, working your way up to more advanced options as you gain more strength and the result of less pain.

Best Moves For Strong Knees

Pin by Kathryn Ofstad on S Runners Knee

Knee problems can interfere with daily activities for people of all ages. An injury can sideline you from sports and exercise, or even make walking a challenge. Here are some simple tips on building and maintaining strong knees.

  • Strengthen the muscles that support your knees. Strong muscles protect joints and enable knees to work in optimal form. Walking up stairs, riding a stationary bicycle, doing squats or working out with weights are all ways to strengthen the leg muscles. You will also want to keep those muscles as flexible as possible with the use of good stretching and range-of-motion exercises.
  • Avoid injuries and overuse. Torn ligaments and tendons contribute to knee problems. A common injury experienced by athletes is the anterior cruciate ligament tear. A sudden, twisting motion of the knee, such as soccer or basketball moves, can injure the ACL. Activities such as long-distance running or heavy lifting may cause overuse and knee injuries. Try to avoid activities causing knee pain and always seek medical attention for injuries.
  • Manage underlying conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most common disease affecting the knees ability to perform. As cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, severe pain and swelling can occur. This is especially true as one gets older. Another condition impacting knees could be rheumatoid arthritis. Team up with your doctor to manage your condition and follow the recommended plan for medication, rest, ice, heat, elevation, etc.
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    Explore Supplements And Natural Remedies

    Supplements for knee osteoarthritis may increase production of synovial fluid in the knee joint. This helps smooth out rough movement that could be causing knee pain. Talk to your doctor before adding these into your regimen.

    Natural remedies for knee pain can also be remarkably effective. These include things like transdermal magnesium, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation.

    How Can I Make My Knees Stronger Exercise

    Workouts for bad knees generally focus on several goals:

    • To make the joint more flexible
    • To stabilize the joint
    • To strengthen knee ligaments, muscles, and tendons that control joint movement
    • To decrease inflammation and pain
    • To reduce the risk of future injuries and falls

    If youve got weak knees, here are four knee strengthening exercises you can do starting today to keep your knees healthy.

    1. Straight leg lifts

    Most people with weak knees also have weak quadriceps . Straight leg lifts help tone those quads, and the exercise is simple to do. Lying flat on your back, bend one knee and put that foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg to the height of the bent knee and hold it for a few seconds. Then gently lower and repeat 10 times on each side. Aim for three sets.

    2. Backwards leg lifts

    These lifts are similar to the lifts just described, but this time, you lie on your tummy and both legs are straight. To do this exercise, contract the muscles in your butt and one leg and raise that leg toward the ceiling. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg to the floor. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

    3. Calf raises

    For this, you need a chair or other surface to hold onto and support yourself. Slowly raise your feet up onto your toes so your heels are off the floor. Raise as high as you can, hold for a few seconds, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Once again, aim for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

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    Knee Exercise: Quadricep Stretch

    Stretches the front of your thigh

    • Stand behind a sturdy chair or next to a wall and hold on for balance.
    • Bend one knee and bring your heel up toward your buttock.
    • Grasp your ankle with your hand and gently pull your heel closer to your body.
    • Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
    • Repeat with the opposite leg then repeat the sequence one or two more times.

    Tip: Dont arch or twist your back while stretching.

    Heel And Calf Stretch

    Exercises to Strengthen the Knees

    This stretch targets the muscles in your lower leg, specifically your calf muscles.

    To do this stretch:

  • Stand facing a wall.
  • Place your hands on the wall and move one foot back as far as you can comfortably. Toes on both feet should be facing forward, heels flat, with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Lean into the stretch and hold for 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch in your back leg.
  • Change legs and repeat.
  • Do this stretch twice for both legs.
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    What Conditions Can Exercise Help

    Knee exercises and stretches can help relieve knee pain caused by many conditions, including these three that commonly affect older women:

    Patellofemoral pain. This condition typically causes a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee thats made worse by daily activities, such as squatting, going up or down stairs, or standing up after sitting for a long period of time. The pain is caused by irritation of the cartilage underneath the kneecap when it does not glide or sit properly. Exercise can help to eliminate problems that lead to this irritation. Stretches can loosen tight muscles on the side of the knee that may be pulling the kneecap out of its groove as it moves. Strengthening weak hip muscles or stretching tight muscles in the front or back of the legs can also reduce discomfort.

    Chronic degenerative meniscal tears. When one or both pads of cartilage that cushion each of your knee joints deteriorates or tears, you may feel pain and a sticking or locking sensation. While surgery is sometimes necessary, doctors usually first recommend physical therapy to help build up the muscles around the knee to take the pressure off the joint and reduce discomfort.

    What Not To Do:

    • Do not lock the knees during this exercise. The knees should remain slightly bent.
    • Do not allow any part of the stepping foot to hang off the stool or platform.
    • People who have issues with balance should not perform this exercise.

    Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.

  • Use two high-backed, stable chairs, placing one on either side of the body with the chair backs next to the arms. Place a hand on the back of each chair for balance.
  • Lift right leg about 12 inches from the ground. All weight should be on the left leg.
  • Slowly bend down a few inches, pushing weight onto the heel of supporting leg.
  • Hold for 35 seconds.
  • Slowly straighten up.
  • There are many different ways to stretch the hamstrings in the back of the legs. One is through traditional toe touching.

    • With the feet close together, slowly bend over at the hips and extend the arms downward. Keep the legs straight but do not lock the knees.
    • Reach the fingers to the top of the toes and hold for 30 seconds.
    • Initially, it may not be possible to reach the toes. In this case, try to get the fingers as close as possible to the toes without causing pain.

    What not to do:

    • Do not use a bouncing motion. Hold the body still.

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    Knee Ligament Sprains Or Tears

    These are common among athletes. There are two types of ligaments: collateral and cruciate. You have four main ligaments in your knee: the lateral collateral ligament, medial collateral ligament , posterior cruciate ligament, and anterior cruciate ligament .

    Ligaments help keep the bones in your knee stable, but they are prone to injuries, particularly through contact or from changing direction suddenly when youâre running. Sports fans know that ACL and MCL injuries can sideline an athlete for months.

    But for most people who donât make their living running full speed or getting hit, it usually takes several weeks to recover.

    It can take roughly 8 weeks to recover from surgery to repair a ligament tear. But if you need a major reconstruction of a torn ligament, it can take 6 months or so to get you back to full strength, Bush-Joseph says.

    Prone Straight Leg Raises

    Gallery

    Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldnt feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.

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    How Exercises Can Benefit Your Knee Joints

    Leading health organizations, such as the Arthritis Foundation, have found that exercise is one of the most effective ways to treat osteoarthritis.

    This can sometimes even eliminate the need for surgery on your joints. Keeping your muscles in good condition, strong and flexible, you can avoid injury altogether.

    These knee strengthening exercises are not tailored to attend to the joint directly. They are used to strengthen the muscles that surround them to provide good support for your joints.

    The support given by these surrounding muscles will help to withstand the everyday pressure and strain on your knees. It can help with pain and keep you active.

    The strengthening exercises for knee below will help to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint. If you experience pain during these exercises then you should stop immediately and consult with your doctor.

    If you have severe knee pain then you should, of course, speak with your doctor or physical therapist for medical advice before trying these exercises.

    You will need to stretch and warm-up before attempting any exercise to strengthen knees. These gentle exercises include walking, cycling, and the use of the elliptical machine. These put minimal stress on the knee.

    They will increase blood flow to the muscles and help them to become more flexible.

    Exercises That Strengthen Your Joints

    Flexible joints give us the range of motion that we need to get around in daily life, but that same flexibility can also be a source of weakness and eventual injury. To keep your knees, hips, and shoulders in healthy working order, try one of these exercises to strengthen and stabilize your joints and prevent future pain and injury.

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    What Else Can You Do

    You can also strengthen the muscles of your legs with daily activities, like climbing stairs or walking more.

    If you prefer more variety, some low-risk sports and activities could also help strengthen your knees:

    • Pilates.
    • Step-ups.
    • Using an elliptical machine.

    Also, including a hamstring stretch or any other stretch for that matter can help you manage the muscle soreness post-exercise.

    Unweighted Exercises Leg Cycle Exercise

    How to Strengthen Knees – Rehab, Prehab, and Performance

    Start by lying on your back with both legs upward. Extend both your arms out at your sides for balance. Begin a cycling motion with your feet in the air. Try to increase the range of motion in the knee joint area, so the flexion in each leg goes from almost straight and extended to bent at a ninety degree angle.

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    Sitting Down And Standing Up

    Why it works: This exercise can be done anywhere, where you have a bench or chair. This exercise is one I love because its something we do every day from sitting up from a work desk or even a couch, this exercise works a combination of muscle groups like your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes when youre sitting down, and even your core comes in to play to stabilize your body.

    How to do it: Using a bench or chair, slowly come down to sitting position with your arms to your side and raising up as you sit for stability. Then, slowly stand up, squeezing your glutes when you reach the top. While coming down, its very important to focus on sitting downslowly because it allows you to focus more on the muscles being worked. You can also increase your risk of injury by speeding to the bottom of the movement. Modify the movement by finding a slightly higher bench or chair so that you don’t have to go down as low. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps of this exercise.

    Making A Fitness Plan With Oa

    First, some bad news: Youre not going to exercise arthritis out of your knee.

    Theres no amount of physical therapy that can change the arthritis, notes Dr. Orlandi. But what we can do is make its impact a lot less. The idea is to change the environment in which the arthritis lives in your body.

    That starts with establishing a lifetime fitness routine that builds cardio, strength and flexibility. The human body is awesome in its ability to adapt, says Dr. Orlandi. So even if you have a lot of arthritis that is painful, you can make a huge impact on how you feel.

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    What Causes Weak Knees

    Weak Quadriceps

    The quads and, most importantly, the vastus medialis obliques , are the muscles that run along the front and side of the leg and attach to the knee.

    These are super important for keeping the knee straight and absorbing shock from running and other weight-bearing activities. A weakness here will lead to an unstable knee and increased pressure on the knee joint a big ouch factor!

    When it comes to exercises to strengthen knees, working the quads and VMO are key.

    Weak Glutes

    While you might be shaking your head and thinking, What does my butt have to do with my knees? the importance of the glute-knee connection may surprise you.

    You see, the glute muscles are key players in hip adduction and abduction . Since they create this movement, theyre also able to resist it when necessary. Say, for example, when youre jogging the last thing you want is your hips and knees rotating the wrong way at the wrong time.

    This is exactly what happens when you have weak glutes. And most of us have weak glutes because we sit so much and dont activate our glutes properly.

    As a result, our knees are not supported by the glute muscles during exercise, which can lead to improper foot landing and rotations. In turn, you get a ton of shock and pressure on your knee joints instead of your glute muscles, where it could be absorbed efficiently.

    Lesson: give your booty the attention it deserves!

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    Weak Calves

    How Exercise Helps Knee Arthritis

    How to Strengthen Your Knees

    Exercise programs for arthritis that include strength and aerobic exercise can help reduce symptoms, improve joint motion and function, enhance balance, and control body weight. With knee OA, strength training exercises are particularly important, adds Lauren Shroyer, MS, director of product development at the American Council on Exercise.

    Thats because as you age, balance can decline for multiple reasons arthritis in your knee can affect balance as well. Strength exercises help stabilize your knee and retain that balance for longer periods of time. Plus, your body relies on muscles to help motor joints, adds Dr. Johnson. For the knee, thats the quadriceps in the front of the thigh and hamstrings in the back.

    You cant cure arthritis or make it go away, says Dr. Johnson. But if you strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize the knee, you can take some of the stress load of weight-bearing or walking off a joint thats worn out and weakened from arthritis, and place it on the stronger muscle.

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