What Causes Weak Knees
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.
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!
Can Muscle Problems Cause Pain
Yes, problems in the knee muscles do cause pain! Tightness or weakness in the quadriceps, hamstrings and other muscles around the knee are often part of the cause of knee pain.
If there is muscle imbalance, it changes the way the forces go through the knee, and puts extra pressure on certain areas, leading to knee pain.
Knee muscles are also often injured. It may be that they are overstretched and tear, or that they are overused and become inflamed.
Common injuries associated with the knee muscles include:
How To Target Knee Cap Muscles
Before you can strengthen the knee cap muscles, you need to know how to make sure they are working.
Sit comfortably in a chair and put your fingers at the top of your kneecap. Move your fingers up an inch, and inwards an inch so you are on a soft fleshy bit this is the VMO. Push your knee and foot down into the floor and you should feel the muscle tighten/clench under your fingers.
It might take a few goes before you feel this keep practising. When you are doing any of the knee cap exercises below, keep checking that you can feel the VMO muscles working.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Knee Surgery
Exercising With A Physical Therapist
Physical therapy is often part of treatment for arthritis and other joint problems. A physical therapist individualizes your treatment program to restore or maintain your physical functioning and carries out specific instructions from your orthopedist.
First, the therapist thoroughly evaluates your pain, functional ability, strength, and endurance. A physical therapy session may involve pain-relieving treatments using ice, heat, massage, or other approaches. The physical therapist supervises you in doing exercises and teaches you exercises you can do at home. Depending on the therapy center, there may be a pool and a variety of exercise equipment to use.
Gait retraining. Knee and hip problems can disrupt your normal walk by causing pain, restricting joint movement, or weakening muscles. A person’s usual pattern of standing, walking, or running may also invite joint problems if weakness in key muscles, poor coaching advice, or bad habits throw off the gait.
It may take many years of walking with an abnormal gait before joint injury occurs. Improper running leads to pain and injury more rapidly because it involves greater force with each stride.
If you have had a knee or hip replacement, gait retraining helps you relearn to stand up straight and use both legs evenly. Gait retraining may begin in the pool, where the water’s buoyancy takes weight off the joint, makes it easier to stand up straight, and reduces the fear of falling.
To Get Better Results
If you have healthy knees, aim for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. If you havent worked out in a while, start with one set and build up from there.
If you have osteoarthritis, try to do these exercises 3-5 times per week for 8-12 weeks. Studies suggest this can help you manage the knee pain and improve your knee function.
- Stop doing these exercises if theyre painful or you feel a sharp pain in your knees.
- Dont push through the pain or you risk getting injured.
- Mild swelling is common, mostly if you havent exercised in a while. Too much swelling is a sign that you might be doing too much or theres an injury.
- Reduce the number of sets or repetitions if you have too much muscle soreness afterward.
- Combine these exercises with good sleep and nutrition habits for best results.
If you arent sure whether you can do these exercises or not, consult with a physical therapist first.
Recommended Reading: Roller Knee Walker
Should I Exercise With Knee Pain
Myth: Dont do ANY exercise if you have any knee pain If you have knee pain, you need to be careful when doing weight-bearing exercises, such as body pump classes, Zumba, step aerobics, jumping, running and sprinting, as these can all put a strain on your knee joints. But you can still exercise!Nov 7, 2019
You May Like: Whiten Knees Fast
Unweighted Exercises Leg Cycle Exercise
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.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Benefits For Knees
Best Exercises For Knee Pain
A comprehensive exercise program should combine cardiovascular endurance plus flexibility and strength exercises, Orlandi says. There are many good exercises to strengthen the knee joints and surrounding leg, hip and buttocks muscles, she says. Aim for at least two 20-minute sessions a week. Orlandi suggests trying the following.
How Can I Strengthen My Knee Ligaments
Quad sets Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor or a firm bed. Place a small, rolled-up towel under your knee. Tighten the thigh muscles of your affected leg by pressing the back of your knee down into the towel. Hold for about 6 seconds, then rest for up to 10 seconds. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
You May Like: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Outpatient Surgery
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:
- 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.
Knee Strengthening Exercises That Prevent Injury
According to the results of a 2011 Gallup poll, more than 25 percent of Americans deal with chronic knee or leg pain. Common causes of pain include previous injury, muscle imbalance, overuse, underuse or limited mobility. Individual cases vary, but strengthening exercises can often alleviate or even cure knee pain.
General knee strengthening exercises build surrounding muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and calves to improve joint stability and support. See a physician for recommendations on knee exercises specific to your condition, and if you find that a particular exercise hurts, stop and try another. Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.
Squats strengthen your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. If your knees are unstable, stand in front of a chair while you do squats so that you can sit if you lose your balance.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your back straight, sit back and down as far as you can comfortably go without letting your knees extend past your toes. Pause briefly and stand back up. Start with quarter or half squats and build up to full squats as you grow stronger.
2. Sit to Stand
This functional exercise is just what it sounds like: sit down slowly in a chair, then slowly rise to a standing position again.
Forward lunges is also a great addition to these existing knee strengthening exercises. This exercise will strengthen your thighs and hips and also improve balance.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Ambulance Ride
What Can You Do For The Pain
Your plan will depend on your specific injury. Mild to moderate issues will often get better on their own. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your knee. Take a few days off from intense activity.
- Ice it to curb pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint. It will keep down swelling or add support.
- Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when you’re sitting or lying down to cut down on swelling.
- Take anti-inflammatorymedications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with pain and swelling. Follow the instructions on the label. These drugs can have side effects, so you should only use them now and then unless your doctor says otherwise.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. You may want to do physical therapy, too.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you still have pain after 2 weeks of home treatment, if the knee becomes warm, or if you have fever along with a painful, swollen knee.
Some people with knee pain need more help. For instance, if you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee. If you have arthritis, you may need an occasional corticosteroid shot to settle down inflammation. And if you have a torn ligament or certain knee injuries, you may need surgery.
Exercise And Knee Pain
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.
Recommended Reading: Best Knee Walker 2016
What Is The Best Way To Strengthen Your Knees
What is the best way to strengthen your knees? By far the best way to strengthen your knees is to use targeted exercises that strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the knee joint. Things like straight leg raises or hamstring curls are a good example.
What is the best stretch for knee pain? Bend Like a Pretzel. The pretzel stretch is one of the most effective glute-stretching exercises, and it can help relieve your knee pain. Lie flat on your back on the floor, crossing your right leg over the other so your right foot rests on your left knee. Grab onto the back of your left thigh and raise your left leg a few inches off the floor,
Do squats strengthen knees? Squats are regarded as the basic lower body exercise by strength athletes because nothing else compares to its ability to strengthen the structure of the knee the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments that form the knee anatomy. The muscles on the front of the thigh are the quadriceps.
How does exercise help knee pain? Exercise can help relieve the pain from knee osteoarthritis by strengthening the muscles around the joint. Stronger muscles ease the stress placed on the knee joint and act as shock absorbers, deflecting some of the day-to-day strain caused by walking and other activities.
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.
You May Like: Nano Knee Surgery Cost
Exercises For The Knees
There is no ideal or terrible group of exercises for the knees. Squats and lunges seem to be labeled as not so good for the knees. But this is different for each client and the type of issue they have.
Takeaway: Avoid any exercise that causes pain, not just squats or lunges.
Isometric exercises help in strengthening the knee. They limit the risk of injury or further damage because of less joint range of motion. Avoiding as much change in muscle length as possible will help alleviate pressure that is normally placed on the joint.
Try these exercises with your clients to help strengthen knees. A lot of these are also found in corrective exercise programs.
Exercises For Weak Knees
Publish by Ortho El Paso, on 12/21/2020
Knees naturally weaken with age. Overuse can also cause the knees to weaken. Keeping them strong through exercises if very important for healthy knees. You dont have to do a lot of exercises, just consistent, low intensity is good enough to maintain knee strength.
General knee strengthening exercises build quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and calves to improve knee strength, joint stability and support.
NOTE: If you have a specific knee condition or you find that a particular exercise hurts, stop we suggest you consult the orthopedists here at Ortho El Paso.
Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise listed here. Additional healthy knee exercises are illustrated on the infographic.
Wall or Chair Squats. If your knees are weak, stand in front of a chair or against a wall while you do squats so that you dont lose your balance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your back straight against the wall, squat by sliding up and down. If using a chair, sit back and down as far as you can comfortably go without letting your knees extend past your toes. Stand back up. You can start slow: start with quarter or half squats and build up to full squats as your knees grow stronger.
Lunges. Forward lunges strengthen your thighs and hips and also improve balance. Heres the proper way to do lunges:
Calf and Abductor Raises.
When it comes to exercises to strengthen knees, working the quads and VMO are key.
Read Also: Where To Get Knee High Converse
The Smartest Moves For Knee Stability
Dr. Coleman shares exercise advice with his patients regularly, and not unlike a personalized overall treatment plan, he considers your medical history, current health, age, and other factors when he shares this knowledge.
Your knees are the largest joints in your body, and the muscles around your knee should be well-balanced and strong so too much pressure isnt put on them. Your knee ligaments, cartilage, and the meniscus all bear the brunt of it. Since your knee is a joint that moves in just one direction, building stability is critical.
For maintaining knee stability, Dr. Coleman recommends a series of easy-to-do exercises that you can perform anywhere, anytime. Theyre good for establishing and maintaining knee stability or for building it up again if youve had knee surgery.
What Not To Do
- Do not let the back arch during the exercise.
- Do not jerk or bounce the leg or lift it above the knee on the bent leg.
- People who have osteoporosis or a back compression fracture should not perform this exercise.
Muscles involved: Hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
Read Also: Does Aflac Cover Hysterectomy
The Best Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees
As described above, your knees are important and complex joints that require careful care and training to stay healthy.
There are many exercises that work your knees and surrounding ligaments, cartilage, and other structures.
For you to achieve the strongest knees possible, it is critical to employ a variety of weight lifting, body weight, cardiovascular, and stretching techniques to keep your knee joint strong all around.
This is not an exhaustive list. Many knee and leg exercises are out there.
These exercises are easy to learn and have an effective way of keeping your knees safe and healthy.
Using these movements will achieve several important concepts: stronger muscles and bones, reduced instability, and more flexible muscles.
Weight lifting and bodyweight exercises will strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint.
These exercises also strengthen the bones that make up the leg. Stretching exercises will improve the stability and flexibility of your knees.
When completing these kinds of exercises, your knee can increase its range of motion and help prevent strains and injuries that come from constant use.
Also, cardiorespiratory exercises strengthen your heart and lungs. In effect, your endurance and ability to handle stress will improve.
Lets begin with some weight lifting examples.
You May Like: Cellulite Above Knees