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Whether you’re an elite athlete, weekend warrior or couch potato you may be struck down with knee pain. The pain can occur following an injury or surgery or be caused by arthritis or wear and tear. But the good news is there are several options for treating knee pain.

Many people believe rest is best for a crook knee, when in fact exercise is best to stop the knee from getting weak and stiff. Stretching and strengthening exercises you can do at home can help ease the pain while also improving your range of motion and joint strength. Stronger muscles around the knee reduce the impact of load and stress on the joint and help you live your daily life with less pain.

If you suffer from knee pain, you’re not alone. Around 19% of the Australian adult population experiences knee pain with the incidence increasing steadily with age. If everyone devoted a few minutes every day to exercising their knees, it’s likely we’d have far fewer dodgy knees in Australia.

Exercises for a Sore Knee

Try these exercises at home to help slowly build up the strength and flexibility in your knees.

#1 Hamstring Set While Standing

Place the foot of your affected leg on a chair or step and keep your knee straight and foot pointed ahead. While keeping your back straight, tip forwards from your hips and push your buttocks out behind you until you feel a stretch down the back of your thigh.

woman performing hamstring stretch

Do 1 Set / 1 Rep / 15 sec Hold

#2 Calf Stretch While Standing

Hold on to the back of a chair or a table for support and step back with the symptomatic leg. Keep your heel on the floor and toes pointing forward. Bend the front knee, moving your body forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Remember to keep your heel on the floor and not to bend your back knee.

woman performing a stand calf stretch

Do 1 Set / 1 Rep / 15 sec Hold

#3 Quads Stretch with Towel for Assistance

Hold on to the back of a chair or a table for support while standing. Place a towel or belt around your ankle on the leg you’re going to stretch. Hold both ends of the towel in your hand that’s on the same side as the stretching leg and use your other hand to hold your support object. Gently pull your leg up towards your buttocks, keeping your knees together and chest up tall. You should feel a stretch down the front of your thigh. Hold the position then release and repeat with the other leg.

woman performing a quad stretch

Do 1 Set / 1 Rep / 15 sec Hold

#4 Knee Extension While Sitting

Sit on a chair and stretch one leg out in front and hold. Return your leg to the starting position and then repeat with the other leg.

woman performing a quad stretch

Do 2 Sets / 1 Rep / 5 sec Hold

#5 Seated Knee Flexion

Sit on a chair with your shoulders back and down. Pull your foot back under the chair as far as possible and hold then take your foot back to the neutral position. Switch feet.

seated knee flexion exercise

Do 2 Sets / 10 Reps / 5 sec Hold

#6 Isometric Quads Supine

Lie on your back on the bed. Stretch out your legs and press the back of one knee down until you feel your thigh muscle tighten and hold. Repeat with the other leg.

isometric quads supine knee rehab exercise

Do 2 Sets / 10 Reps / 10 sec Hold

#7 Single Leg Balance

Stand with your legs straight at shoulder width apart. Lean slightly to the side while bending your opposite knee. You can make it more difficult by bending further. Be careful to keep within the limits of your mobility.

single leg balance knee exercise

Do 2 Sets / 3 Reps / 20 sec Hold

#8 Calf Raise

Stand balanced with your feet shoulder length apart. Raise up on your toes as high as possible then return to the starting position.

calf raise exercise

Do 2 sets / 10 reps

#9 Sit to Stand Normal Height With No Hands

Sit up in a chair close to the edge with your legs at hip width apart. Tuck your feet back so they are under your knees. With your arms folded to stop you from using them, lean your body forward and push through your legs to stand up straight. Ensure you fully straighten your hips once you’re standing.

sit to stand exercise for knees

Do 2 Sets / 10 Reps

#10 Stepping Forward

Stand on a stair or step. Carefully bend your affected leg so that you can take your other leg off the step and move it down to the step below. Return back to the starting position by stretching your affected leg and bringing your other leg back up to the starting position.

stepping forward knee rehabilitation exercise

Do 2 Sets / 5 Reps

With some dedication to doing these knee exercises regularly, you will slowly feel your muscles strengthen and hopefully experience less pain in and around the knee.

If you live remotely or have difficulty accessing rehabilitation services, our allied health professionals deliver recovery initiates online via Telehealth. Find out more about our Rawi Remote program.

For more information about how our exercise physiologists can help with your knee pain, contact Altius Group on 1800 258 487.