If you suffer from chronic knee pain, exercise may not seem like a great idea. However, exercise may be the best medicine to alleviate the pain.
Once you have consulted with your primary care physician and you’re cleared for physical activity, take note of these five exercises that are easy on your knees and will keep you active.
Calf raises – Stand with your feet about hip width apart and toes straight ahead. While using a chair or wall for balance, slowly lift your heels off of the floor, rising up onto your toes. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat.
Straight-leg raises – Sit with your back against a wall. Keep one leg straight while the other leg is bent with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly raise the leg that is outstretched straight up about 12 inches off of the floor. Hold, and then slowly lower. Repeat this motion with your other leg.
Partial squats – Start this exercise by standing about 12 inches away from the front of a chair. Make sure that your feet are hip width apart and your toes are facing forward. Bend at the hips and slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair. Remember to keep your abs tight and make sure that your knees stay behind your toes. Slowly lift back up to standing position and repeat.
Step ups – Use a staircase or an aerobic bench to complete this exercise. Simply step up onto the step with your left foot. Tap your right foot on the top of the step and then lower. As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle. Repeat with your right foot.
Hamstring stretch – Lie on your back with your right leg flat on the floor. Loop a towel or band around your left leg and pull your leg back as far as you can toward your chest, while keeping a slight bend at the knee. Make sure that your back remains pressed to the floor throughout the stretch. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and then release and repeat on the other leg. It’s a good idea to do this stretch a few times per week to maintain flexibility.
As we said before, consult your primary care physician before participating in physical activity. If you are able, do 10 to 12 repetitions of each of these exercises, two to three times per week.