Feeling that dull strain in your knees a bit more than usual? Try these out for instant relief.
When you walk up the stairs, the pressure on your knees is nearly 4 times your bodyweight. It’s no wonder that knees are the most common joint to cause trouble simply because of the fact that they undergo the most amount of wear and tear over the course of one’s life.
The best possible remedy for knee pain is regular exercise. Even for people with chronic pain in their joints, knowing the correct exercises for the muscles around their joints – namely the hamstrings, quadriceps, abductor and adductor, will provide the necessary support and strength to keep that part of your body relatively pain free, flexible and less susceptible to injury.
One thing to remember when doing exercises specifically geared towards the knees is that your knees should never bend past your toes. Applying unnecessary pressure on your kneecaps will only exacerbate any pain that you are already feeling and will increase the chances of causing further damage to an already sensitive part of your body.
If at any point you feel pain, stop immediately. It is common to feel minor aches after you are done exercising. Place an ice-bag over your knees after a session, and keep the leg elevated on a chair for a few minutes, or until the aches subside.
1. Chair knee stretch: Sit in a chain and rest your foot on another chair so that the knee is raised partially. Carefully push the knee that is raised towards the floor using only the muscles in your leg. Hold for about 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times for each leg.
2. Leg stretch: Sit on the floor with your back against the wall and bend your knee up while keeping your other foot flat on the ground. Do this until you can feel your knee being comfortably stretched. Repeat ten times for each leg.
3. Hamstring stretch: While standing put one foot in front of you, keeping your toes up. Place your hands on the small of your back and bend the opposite knee and hip until you can feel your hamstring is stretching. Make sure not to bend your lower back. Your upper body should come forward at the hip. Hold this position for 10 seconds then release. Repeat 5 times for each leg.
4. Partial Squats: With your feet hip width apart and your toes forward stand 12 inches away from the front of a chair. Slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair by bending at the hips. Make sure that your abs are kept tight and that your knee remain behind your toes.
5. Inner-thigh Leg Lifts: Wearing ankle weights above your knee, lie on your right side, with your weight partially concentrated on your butt. Bend your left leg and place it behind your right leg. Keep your left foot flat on the floor while making sure that your right leg is kept straight. Support your head with your right arm. Lift your right left gradually about 4 inches. Lower back to the previous position. Repeat with your left leg.
6. Heel slide knee stretch: While lying on your back, bend your left knee and keep your left foot flat on the floor. Gradually slide the left heel away from your body till both legs are parallel. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat 5 times for each leg.
7. Step-ups: For this exercise you will need an aerobic bench but a step will do just as well. Step onto the bench with your right foot. With your left foot, tap on the top of the step and then lower. Make sure that your knee is directly over your ankle as you are stepping up. Repeat the same action with your left foot.
8. Side-lying leg lifts: For this exercise you will require ankle weights. Lie down on the floor on your right side while keeping your legs straight and together. Support your head with your right arm. All the while keep your right foot flexed. Make sure that your body is completely straight. Gradually lift your right leg to the height of your shoulder. Gradually lower back to the previous position. Repeat with your left leg.
9. Calf stretch Stand away from a wall at arm’s length. Place your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left knee forward, while keeping your hands against the wall for support. Make sure to keep your right knee straight, your right heel on the floor, and your left knee above your left foot. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
10. Knee flexion: Loop a long towel under your foot while sitting in a chair. Carefully pull the towel towards you so that your knee bends towards you. Raise your foot 4 to 5 inches off the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds then release. Repeat 5 times.
11. Calf Raises: For balance use a chair or a wall and stand with your feet about hip width apart. Keep your toes straight ahead. Lift your heels off the floor gradually and rise up onto your toes. Hold this position, then gradually lower.
12. Sit/stands: Sit on a chair with your back straight and without using your hands get up to a standing position in a smooth controlled motion. Try to rise as slowly as possible. Repeat for one minute. As it becomes easier try doing the same from lower chairs, or from the bottom two steps of a staircase.
13. Straight leg raise: Sitting in a chair gradually lift your leg off the ground while keeping it completely straight. Do the same for the other leg. Repeat about ten times for each leg. When this becomes easier, trying doing this exercise using ankle weights.
14. Stationary bike: Bikes are a good option to stretch knee joints and the muscles around them but make sure that your form is proper otherwise you might risk injuring yourself and causing damage to your knees. When the pedal is at its lowest point make sure that your knee is bent at 15 degrees. Do this for ten minutes at least.
15. Hamstring stretch (alternate): With both legs straight, lie on your back and place a long strap around the ball of your right foot. Lift your leg by using the strap until you feel a stretch behind your knee and thigh. Make sure that your knees are not locked while doing this exercise.
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