Is it time you need a little physical therapy for knees? Your knees are used for a lot of things. They help you walk, run, go upstairs, and live your life. Knee pain can stop you in your tracks, especially when your schedule is full.
This is where physical therapy for knees comes in. In short, you can do these exercises at home without needing to go to a gym.
1. Hamstring Curls
There are a lot of different variations that you can do with this exercise. This makes it a great exercise because you can progress as you gain strength.
- Lay down on your stomach.
- Bend your knee and let your foot come up near your bottom.
- Lower your knee.
Do 10 repetitions 3 times. If it is too much for you, lower the number of repetitions.
2. Straight Leg Lifts
- Lay down on your back.
- Lift one leg as high as it can go.
- Do not push it! There shouldn’t be any pain when you lift your leg. If you feel pain, do not lift your leg as high.
- Lower your leg.
You can hold your leg as long or as little as you want. When the exercise becomes easy, switch it up. Get a resistance band and use it during this exercise.
3. Calf Raises
Calf raises are basically what they sound like, you get to raise your calves. You may be thinking why are we working the legs so much? This is because the leg muscles support the knee. If all of these muscles are strong your knees can move without pain.
- Stand at the bottom of a staircase.
- Get on a step and balance yourself.
- Raise yourself so you are on your toes.
- Lower your legs until your heels touch the floor. If you want to work harder, let your heels drop below the edge of the stair as far as it will comfortably go.
- Repeat this motion until your legs are tired.
4. Tibia Taps
This is one of our favorite exercises because it is easy and can be done anywhere you sit. You will want a seat that is a little high so you can tap your toes into a small point.
- Sit down and make sure your hips are level.
- Lift your toes up.
- Tap your toes so they touch the floor.
- Repeat until there is fatigue starting in your shins.
You should feel this working in the front of your shin. If you do not feel it, try flexing your toes up as you bring your feet up.
When you think of squats you may think of someone at a squat rack with a lot of weight. Get that image out of your head. This is because we are talking about squats without weight that will help your knees. Remember that physical therapy for knees is not about pushing yourself hard but rather, rehabbing sore knees.
- Get your back up against a wall.
- Put your feet apart a little more than hip-distance apart.
- Bend your knees and move down.
- Keep your back against the wall while you move down.
- Move back up and repeat.
Lunges are a great exercise that will target all of the ligaments and muscles near the knee. They can be done moving in a forward line or in one place. Because it is up to you, you will want to choose what is best for your body. Keep in mind that you should not be feeling discomfort or pain while doing this movement.
- Put one leg in front of the other
- Bend your knees as far as you can without discomfort
- Do not let your front knee extend past the foot of the same leg.
- Come up to a standing position.
- Switch legs so the other one is out in front.
This can be done for a set amount of time or a certain distance. You can also do it in repetitions. For example, lunges 20 times on each side.
7. Side Leg Raises
Leg raises that are done on your side, targeting the inner muscles that go all the way down to the knee. It will also help improve your balance and stabilization. Balance plays a key role in your pain and easing it.
- Lay down on your side.
- Make sure that your hips are stacked on top of each other in a straight vertical line.
- Take the leg on top and lift it as high as it will go while keeping your legs straight.
- You should not feel any pain while doing this.
- Hold it.
- Slowly lower your leg back down.
- Finally, switch which side your are laying on to get both legs.
8. Stair Steps
This exercise can be done on a staircase or with a plyo-box or step box. Choose a height that is right for you. In fact, the higher the box the harder it will be.
- Get in front of your step.
- Step up onto the stair or box with one leg.
- Bring your other leg up to meet the first.
- Get off of the box by stepping down, one leg at a time.
- Repeat alternating which leg steps up first.
This exercise can be done continuously for a set amount of time. For instance, start with 30 seconds and work your way up to longer time intervals.
9. Leg Raises
We have done single leg raises and now it is time to do leg raises with both legs. This can be beneficial because it works your core and inner thighs which support your knees.
- Lay on your back.
- Raise both of your legs as high as they can go without pain.
- Lower them down.
If this hurts your back, you can put a pillow for support on your lower back. Be mindful of your core and tighten it as you raise your legs to help with back pain. It can also be helpful to use some sort of weight to hold your upper half down. Grab under a counter or have a friend hold your hands.
10. Low Impact Cardio
The main goal for preventing knee pain is to not do bone-jarring activities. While you are still having knee pain, it is important to still do cardio.
Some low impact cardio options are:
- Water Aerobics
- Stationary Bikes
The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Knees
Once your knee pain starts to disappear you can start introducing more bone-jarring activities into your life such as running.
It is important to keep your knees happy and healthy. Staying active is going to have a profound impact on this. Whether you have minor knee pain or knee pain from a chronic condition, you should experience some relief with physical therapy for the knees.
Give these exercises a try, your knees will thank you.