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Charlotte Anderson
April 24, 2015

Top 10 Physio Exercises for Knee Pain

knee pain exercises

Are your knees causing you considerable pain? Is it challenging for you to walk and do the activities you love? Do you sometimes feel like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz? Even simple day to day activities can cause wear and tear in your knee, resulting in reduced mobility and a feeling of instability in your knee. To manage discomfort, you've tried following RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. You've even purchased a knee brace to support your knee joint and you are still in pain. Now what?

Research shows that knee pain exercises after an injury keep your joints from stiffening and provide the support you need - thus making movement easier and reducing pain. Similar to a rusty door hinge, with some TLC you will be able to strengthen your knees and get back to doing the things you love. Here are 10 physiotherapy exercises for knee injuries that can help strengthen your muscles that support the knee joint.


Shop Knee Braces, topicals and other products for Knee pain at Orthocanada.com

* Please consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting any physiotherapy exercises. 

1. Quadriceps Stretch 

Stand tall and with your right hand grab your right ankle. Pull the ankle up towards your buttocks, and you should feel a pull in the front of your leg. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Alternate sides and repeat.  

 Quadriceps Stretch for knee pain

2. Hamstring Stretch 

With your injured leg, stand propped up on a step or a staircase. Slightly bend forward from the hips, while keeping your back straight. You should feel a pull in the back of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times. Alternate sides and repeat. 

Hamstring Stretch for knees

3. Kick Backs Exercise

Stand up straight and hold onto the back of a chair. While bending your right knee, lift your right foot as far as you can towards your glutes. Hold for three to five seconds. Try doing 10-15 reps twice a day. Be sure to keep your upper body straight. To make the exercise more challenging, add ankle weights to the working leg. Switch sides and repeat.

KickBacks for weak knees

4. Bridging Exercise

Begin on your bed by lying down on your back with both knees bent at 90° and your feet flat on the bed. Contract both your buttocks and abdominal muscles and lift your glutes away from the bed as high as you can without arching your back. Hold this bridge position for 3 to 5 seconds and slowly lower. Repeat 10- 15 times. Increase intensity of this exercise by performing the routine one leg at a time. 

Bridging for weak knees

5. Clam Shell Exercise

With your feet together, lie on your side with your hip and knees bent at approximately 90°. Lift your top knee away from your bottom knee as far as possible, while keeping your feet together. Perform this movement in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Clam Shell for knee injuries

6. One Leg Stance

Stand on your injured leg with the other leg raised in the air for two minutes, twice a day. To make this exercise more challenging, try closing your eyes, or perform this exercise while tossing a ball up in the air, or standing on a pillow or uneven surface. 

 One Leg Stance Knee Exercises

7. Calf Raise Exercise

Stand holding on to the back of a chair. Slowly rise onto your tippy toes, and then lower back to standing position. Repeat this 20 times. There are a variety of ways to boost the intensity of this exercise; perform exercise with light weights, do exercise with only one leg, or carry out the exercise on a staircase with your heels hanging off the edge. 

Calf Raise exercises for knees 

 8. Wall Squats

Stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat position (as if you are sitting in a chair), then straighten your legs and return to the starting position. Do ten sets. Challenge yourself by holding your squat for deeper and longer.

Wall Squats exercises for knees

9. Bend and Reach

Stand on your injured leg and slowly reach down to the floor while extending your other leg behind you. Hinge forward at the hips and then return to an upright position. Try this 10 times on each leg. Tweak the intensity by placing objects on the floor and touching the objects each time your hinge forward.

 Bend and Reach for knee pain

10. Lunges Exercises

Stand straight with both feet facing forward. Step forward with your injured leg and drop your non-injured knee (the knee in the back). Make sure the knee in front does not extend past your toes. Your upper body should be upright. Push off with your front foot and return to standing position. Repeat ten times on each leg. To make this exercise more challenging try holding light weights. 

Lunges for knee pain relief


Stop feeling frustrated with your knee pain. Start feeling better with physiotherapy so you can get back to doing the things you love. Research has proven that people who seek therapy early after an injury have shorter recovery periods and are 8 times less likely to develop chronic pain. 


Shop Knee Braces, topicals and other products for Knee pain at Orthocanada.com


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