Best Exercises for Knee Pain | PT Effect

Best Exercises for Knee Pain

Reduce or prevent knee pain by doing the right exercises
Read Time: 2.5 minutes
Aug 30, 2021

Knee pain affects about a third of all Americans at some point in their lifetimes. At any given point in time, millions of Americans are experiencing knee pain. For many, knee pain can hinder their ability to do activities they enjoy. Fortunately, there are some exercises that you can do at home that may help alleviate your knee pain.

Before changing your exercise regime, you should speak to your doctor or physical therapist, who may recommend specific knee exercises for you to do. You should also be careful to start any new exercises slowly and work your way up to more intense exercise. Remember to always warm-up before starting your workout to avoid causing or worsening an injury.

Hamstring Curl

Hamstring curl

To perform a hamstring curl, lie flat on the floor on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you. Bend one leg and bring your foot as close to your bottom as you can. Do a set on one leg and then switch to the other leg. Alternatively, you can do this exercise standing up. Just lift your leg until your foot touches your bottom or comes as close to it as you can. You may want to hold onto a chair for support. Alternatively, if you go to a gym to work out, your gym may have a hamstring curl machine.

Leg Raise

To do a leg raise, lie flat on your back with one knee bent and the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg off the floor until it is level with the top of your other leg’s bent knee. Then lower it back to the floor. Repeat for a set and then switch legs.

Wall Squat

Wall squat

To do a wall squat, stand against a wall. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. Gradually bend your knees, but keep your back straight and both your back and pelvis against the wall as you slide down into a sitting position. Bend your knees as much as you can, but don’t go lower than ninety degrees. If your knee hurts, then change your position to alleviate the pressure.

Calf Raise

To do a calf raise, stand up straight. You may want something to hold on to, like the back of a chair. Raise your heels so that you’re standing on your toes. Then, lower your heels back down to the ground. Then repeat. For a more advanced version, you can do a calf raise on just one foot at a time.

Step Up

Step up workout

To do a step up, you’ll need to use a step bench or a low platform of some kind. You can use the lowest step on a staircase if you don’t have a dedicated exercise step bench. Step up onto the bench or step with one foot, then bring the other foot up to join it. Then, step back down onto the floor. Repeat on the other side.

Prone Leg Raise

To do a prone leg raise, lie on your stomach on the floor with your legs straight. Lift one leg as high as you can into the air, keeping it straight. Lower it back down to the floor, then repeat with the other leg.

Side Leg Raise

Side leg raise

To do a side leg raise, lie down on the floor on your side with your legs straight. Lift the top leg into the air as high as you can, keeping your leg straight and repeat. Once you have done a set, rollover to your other side and repeat on the other leg.

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Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS


Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Mark Shulman

Dr. Allison McKay

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), PRPC


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