What causes knee pain?
There are many different causes of knee pain. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, or medical conditions such as arthritis. Strains caused during sports and exercise can also result in knee pain. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving flexibility and range of motion.
Exercises for strengthening the Knees
Exercises are the best way to strengthen the muscles that support the knee and keep them flexible. Exercises should be started slowly, and can be increased over time.
Before starting any exercise, cycling or brisk walking for 15 minutes will help to get more out of the exercise and relax the muscles to avoid damage.
1. Prone Leg Curl
Strengthens and improves flexibility of hamstrings, the muscles that supports the knee and helps with normal walking.Lie on your stomach. Put a light dumbbell between your feet (so that the top end of the dumbbell rests on the bottom of your feet). Squeeze your feet together, and curl them up toward your butt. Do 10-12 reps.
2. Single Leg Bridge
This exercise strengthens the gluteus (butt) muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings.
Lay on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise and extend one leg while keeping your pelvis raised and level.
3. Step Up
Builds the quadriceps.
Step up with the right foot, pressing through the heel to straighten your right leg. Bring the left foot to meet your right foot on top of the step. Bend your right knee and step down with the left foot. Bring the right foot down to meet the left foot on the ground. Repeat the procedure with left leg.
4. Step Back Lunge
Step Back lunges strengthen the core, glutes and hamstrings.
Bend the front knee and the back knee and go down until your back knee is about to touch the floor. As you stand back up, focus on pushing through the front heel and bring the back leg back up to the front leg.
5. Wall Slide
Wall slides improve the strength of quadriceps, glutes and calves.
Stand upright with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart, 1 – 2 feet away from the wall. Slowly bend your knees and slide your back down the wall. Do not let the knees go beyond your toes while bending. Hold in that position for a few seconds and slide your back up, exerting with both your heels to return to start position.
6. Quad Sets
Quad sets help you build and maintain strength in the muscles on top of your thigh (quadriceps), the primary muscles that help support the knees.
Lay on your back. Place a rolled towel behind the knee. Try to push down the towel with your kneecap while contracting/tightening quadricep muscles.
7. Hamstring Sets
This exercise strengthens & improves the flexibility of hamstrings to support the knees.
Lie down with one leg bent. The other leg should be straight and supported on the floor. Tighten the muscles on the back of your bent leg (hamstring) by pressing your heel into the floor. Hold for about 6 seconds, and then rest for up to 10 seconds. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
8. Heel Raises
This exercise strengthens the calf muscles behind the legs.
Stand with your feet about 10 centimetres apart, with your hands lightly resting on a counter or chair in front of you. Slowly raise your heels off the floor while keeping your knees straight. Repeat it for 10-12 times.