There are many exercises and activities that can help strengthen the muscles
around the knee joint. What is important is that it works for your lifestyle,
your level of fitness and they do not create more pain. General exercises
include- Isometric exercises, active range of motion exercises, stretching,
balance exercises and exercises for the hip, foot and ankle.
WHICH MUSCLES ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO STRENGTHEN AND PROTECT THE KNEE AND WHY?
The Quadriceps, muscle in front of your thigh. Hamstring, muscle in back
of your thigh. These muscles are designed to move and support the knee
and the stronger they are, the better job they do at reducing strain around
the knee and provide better shock absorption. It’s also a good idea
to strengthen the muscles around the hip, foot and ankle.
EXERCISES THAT WORSENS KNEES:
Any exercises that increase pain around the knee. Individuals with a history
of arthritis should avoid deep squats, stairs or high impact activities.
These tend to create more wear and tear on the cartilage within the joint
which leads to degenerative changes and inflammation.
WHAT EXERCISES WORK BEST?
Here are some exercises to help strengthen the knee. These exercises require
little to no equipment and can be done at home or where there’s
something stable to hold on to.
Mini or partial squats with a chair or at a counter (quadriceps):Holding on to a chair or stable surface, with knees about shoulder width
apart and pointing forward, slightly bend hips and knees as if sitting
down on to a chair, and then slowly stand back up.
Standing Hamstring curls (hamstring): Holding on to the back of a chair or stationary surface, without moving
hip, bend knee as far as possible.
Marching in place (Hip flexors and a good balance exercise)Holding on to back of a chair or stationary object, take alternating steps
in place, bringing knee up to a comfortable height.
Heel raises (calf muscle):Holding on to back of a chair or stable surface, rise up on toes, lifting
heels of ground and then slowly lower back down.
3-way straight leg raises if able to assume these positions (Hip muscles,
Gluteus medius, maximus, hip adductors):While laying on your back, bend one leg, keep other leg as straight as
possible and tighten muscles on top of thigh. Slowly lift straight leg
10 inches from the bend and hold. Slowly lower down. Reposition by lying
on your side, involved leg on top, and lift straight leg towards ceiling
and repeat 10 times. Reposition by lying on your stomach with a pillow
under stomach for support, and lift straight leg towards ceiling.
Bridging (gluteus medius and hamstrings):Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground or bed. Lift
your bottom up as high as possible. Slowly lower back down.
Perform these exercises 10 repetitions each, 2-3 times a day. You can gradually
increase repetition or frequency of exercises as long as they do not produce
pain the following day.