Joint pain can have a negative effect on everyday life, making almost everything you do a painful chore. Knee pain is especially annoying as you are reminded of it each time you get out of bed or simply move from one place to the next. It doesn’t help that knees are the most commonly injured joint on the human body either. That being said, you know how important it is to take care of your knees when they are injured. It is also crucial to know what to avoid and be careful of in your everyday life. But, what exactly can cause chronic knee pain and what knee pain exercises can you do to help?
What puts the pain in knee pain exercises?
Knee pain exercises can really help with long-term pain, but first, it is a good idea to know what kind of pain you are dealing with before you jump into exercising. It is always necessary to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is to ensure you don’t exacerbate the condition. Even if your doctor says it is okay, remember to go slowly at first as going too hard out of the gate on an injured knee can do some serious damage.
Here are some of the most common causes of knee pain:
- Osteoarthritis is what happens as the body ages and wear-and-tear sets in. This type of arthritis is the most common kind in people over 50 and it can cause the knee to swell during periods of activity. However, there are hundreds of kinds of arthritis that can affect the joint health of your body.
- Knee bursitis is another common knee pain condition that comes from overuse or blunt force. This can cause the bursa, the small fluid sacs that cushion the knee joint on the top of the kneecap, to swell leading to intense pain.
- Tearing lower leg muscles can also cause pain, as ligaments such as the anterior cruciate ligament and the medical collateral ligament, make up the tissue that connects the thigh bone to the lower leg. This condition can result in severe knee pain and might require surgery to fix the issue.
- Iliotibial band syndrome is a condition in which the iliotibial band, the long, thick band of tissue running from your hip to your knee, becomes inflamed or swollen. This is generally due to straining the muscle through overuse. This pain usually gets worse with additional movement.
- Broken cartilage can also be an issue. If the knee is struck forcefully enough, the cartilage will splinter apart and a small amount might get stuck in the joint. This leads to pain and swelling in the knee region.
This is not an exhaustive list as there are too many to name, but these are the most likely and common causes of chronic knee pain.
Signs and symptoms of knee pain may vary as well, but overall, the signs that are most likely to indicate knee pain are:
- Swelling, inflammation, and stiffness
- Weakness in the knee muscles
- Popping or crunching noises in the knee
Since we use our knees so much, they definitely need looking after. Over 50 million people suffer from knee pain problems, so you are not alone. Try these 5 knee pain exercises to really stretch out your muscles and help alleviate some of the pain you might experience on a daily basis.
Knee pain exercises to help the pain
As with all exercise and stretching, it is wise to do a brief warm up before you start a routine. Try a brisk walk around the block or ride a stationary bike for five minutes to do so.
Remember that many of the following exercises focus on the muscle groups surrounding your knee. It takes strengthening of all related parts of the knee to truly make a difference in your pain management. Don’t overwork your muscles either. You want to feel a good stretch, but make sure you are not in pain when working your muscles.
1. Straight leg rise
This is a pretty easy and low impact knee pain exercise to do and helps prevent pain by building the quadriceps. Lie down on the ground facing upwards. Bend one knee so you have one foot firmly planted on the ground and then lift the other leg up about a foot. While lifting, turn your foot away from your other leg by 45 degrees. Slowly lower your leg back down. Do 15 of these and then switch legs.
2. Hamstring curls
Tight hamstrings can cause a lot of pain in the knees by limiting range of motion. Start by standing with both hands firmly planted on the back of a chair. Curl your foot up, bringing your heel as close to your backside as possible, and then gently lower it back to the ground. Do this ten times and then switch legs. Try doing three reps to start and add more weight or reps as needed.
3. Calf raises
This exercise lengthens the muscles that support the back of your knee by building your calves. Start by standing and facing a wall. Stretch your arms out so you can just barely touch the wall. Then move your body from standing with flat feet to being on your tiptoes by raising and lowering your heels.
4. Partial squats
Squatting so your thighs are parallel to the ground can be quite a challenge for those with knee pain. So instead, partial squats can be used to strengthen the thighs and glutes, which help support the knee.
While in a standing position, lower your body downwards by bending the knees. Instead of going all the way down, stop around 45 degrees and come back up. Always make sure your knees don’t pass the tip of your toes or you will be putting too much pressure on your joints.
5. Knee flexion
This stretch is great for increasing the range of movement in your knees. Start by sitting on the edge of a chair with your back straight and your feet planted on the ground. Lift one knee straight up and then extend your leg outward. Next, curl your leg back in and gently lower it to the ground. Try ten of these and then switch legs.
What knee pain exercises and stretches do you use to help?