Knee joint pain is an extremely common ailment that can affect everyone, young and old alike. While it is important that you get expert medical advice regarding the best treatment for a knee injury, once you have recovered, you can begin to explore the different exercises that are hugely beneficial for regaining and maintaining strength in and around your knee. In this post, we will uncover five of the best exercises you can use to help alleviate your knee pain and three of the worst exercises that you should avoid after a recent knee injury.
The Top 5 Exercises For Knee Joint Pain
- Step-ups: After a knee injury, you will find it difficult to do simple things that you could once do with ease, such as walking up a flight of stairs. In order to regain the strength needed to do this and perform other tasks that require the use of your knee, practice step-up exercises at least three times a week. Conveniently, if you have staircases in your home, all you will need is one step to do this exercise. If not, use a sturdy box that is equivalent to one step to do your step-up exercises. Start by lifting your left leg up and placing your left foot on the stair. Lift your right leg into the air, hold for a moment as your left leg tightens, and slowly lower the right leg back onto the ground. Repeat this motion ten times between alternating legs. The more you do this exercise, the more strength and stability you will gain in your leg and knee area.
- Halfway Squats: When deep squats are done incorrectly or are overdone, they can wreak havoc on a person's knees. However, if you are recovering from a knee injury, you can do halfway squats correctly in order to build up the muscles in your legs to offer more support for your knees and ensure there is less risk of damaging them again. It's best to do halfway squats with a chair behind you. Once a chair is set in place, steadily lower yourself into squatting position, but only go halfway to the chair before slowly rising back up into standing position again. To maintain proper form, make sure that your knees stay behind your toes (you want to be able to see your toes when you squat) and keep your core tight. You also want to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, no wider and no closer than that. Strive for three sets of ten halfway squats in the beginning and work your way up to an increased number. Incorporate halfway squats into your workout three times a week.
- Walk and Swim: If you were an avid runner before your knee injury and now find that you can no longer indulge in this form of physical activity, you will find that walking and swimming are just as satisfying and will burn just as many calories or more. These low-impact forms of cardio are very popular among men and women with knee injuries. Walking and swimming are great alternatives to getting a proper workout and keeping your whole body in shape without further damaging your knee. Before you begin walking on a regular basis, make sure that you have footwear that is both comfortable and that offers sufficient support. Also, never start a brisk walk without some gentle stretches beforehand. And should you start swimming, it is vital that you keep the proper form in order to avoid other kinds of bodily injuries.
- One Leg Balance: After a knee injury, your balance is most likely not what is should be. In order to regain stability while strengthening the muscles in your leg and around your knee, practice one leg balance poses during your regular workouts. Place a chair in front of you for support when you balance. Stand behind a chair and try your best not to hold onto it as you lift one leg in the air and keep it there for twenty seconds. Lower your leg back down and balance the other one in the air for the same length of time. Concentrating on your breathing will help make balancing easier and will help you build up to a longer time holding your leg in the air. Do a few rounds of this exercise and incorporate it into your workout three times a week.
- Leg Raises: This is one of the most effective exercises for knee pain as it swiftly rebuilds the muscles that support your knee and thus minimize chances of injuring occurring again. If you suffer from weak knee joints, this is the go-to exercise for you. To begin, lie flat on your back on an exercise or yoga mat with your elbows supporting your upper body. Keep one knee bent and the other one straight. Lift your straight leg into the air and hold for three seconds before steadily lowering it back down. Continue this motion ten times before switching legs. Incorporate this exercise into your workout at least three times a week.
The 3 Worst Exercises For Knee Joint Pain
- Full Squats: While a halfway squat (as mentioned above) is certainly beneficial for anyone suffering from knee joint pain, a deep, full squat should be avoided. When you are squatting all the way, you are putting even more pressure on your knee joints. If your injury is fresh or you have newly recovered from a knee injury, this will only further damage the knee and add more stress. Avoid doing full squats until you have had enough time practicing halfway squats and have received a medical professional or physical therapist's approval.
- Lunges: Similarly to the effects of deeps squats, lunges will only add more stress to weak knee joints that are recovering from injury and pain. Avoid doing these, especially in the beginning of the healing and rehabilitation process. When you make that deep lunge motion and repeat it several times over, you will find that your knee is even more aggravated and inflamed. If you have bad knees and are looking for an alternative exercise to traditional lunges, try doing reverse lunges on a Smith machine.
- Full-Arc Knee Extension: This is a commonly used lower body exercise that many people use with the support of the machine. The full-arc knee extension is done in a sitting position with a certain amount of weight applied to the lower shin area. The individual doing this exercise the raises their legs with the extra weight before lowering their legs and repeating. Like the previously mentioned exercises, this exercise creates too much strain early on. Rather than doing full-arc knee extensions, practice half-arc knee extensions with much less weight. You can do this alternative exercise by sitting in a chair and placing a basketball on your lower shins. From there, lift your legs up halfway before releasing. This will help build up strength in your lower legs without straining your injured knee.