There are many reasons why people have knee pain, with levels ranging from mild to severe. Injury, popping, arthritic inflammation, and every other cause of achy knees can be crippling to your lifestyle.
Whether your pain is temporary or chronic, you can find relief through stretches and strengthening exercises. While it may seem counterproductive to keep it moving when you’re sore, movement can actually help alleviate the pain. Increasing flexibility in the body decreases tension and tightness, reducing the chance of pain or inflammation before it starts.
In this video, Dr. Jo, a licensed physical therapist, shares several techniques that stretch and exercise the knee. Outlined below are two of her methods for flexing these valuable joints to get you walking (or running) comfortably again.
For these, you can skip buying a gym stepper and use a stack of books or your own staircase. Dr. Jo suggests keeping your stepping platform at a comfortable level to start. Take one foot and step up onto your base without bending the knee past the toes. Doing so will prevent you from bearing the weight and pressure on the knee itself.
Should you need extra support, feel free to use a railing, chair, or countertop to help you remain steady. With your other foot, step lightly and slowly off of the floor as you straighten both knees. Dr. Jo emphasizes using slow motion to allow the muscles to do the work, not speed! Continue until you feel the burn and switch legs.
There are many versions of the lunge, but for this one you can use your stacked books as a prop. Dr. Jo shows us to how to step over our platform with one leg to position the body. Slowly lower yourself down, creating a 90 degree angle with the front leg and resting the back knee on your prop. Come up gently and switch legs, then repeat on the other side.
If you need help balancing, use a chair or tabletop. The doc points out that you need to keep your trunk straight to avoid lurching forward or backward, which could give you a terrible dose of back pain. Lunges help a number of muscles and joints including your knees, core, hips, and thighs.
Watch the video to see Dr. Jo’s other exercise and to learn the proper form for these workouts. Pay attention to the positioning of her feet as you do these movements to get the most benefit and avoid injury.
By following her directions carefully, you can strengthen and heal the knee without causing any extra strain. Try stretching the muscles and ligaments around the knee a few times a week to help you prevent pain or relieve it. Stretching gets rid of stiffness and strengthening helps to increase mobility.
Though these techniques are fairly mild, always check with your physician first if you have an underlying condition that may be aggravated by this activity.
Do you suffer from knee pain? Would you rather avoid surgical intervention and try at-home methods to heal?