Knee pain is a common problem, especially as people age. A sedentary lifestyle can aggravate knee problems by not allowing the joint and the muscles around it to strengthen. Being overweight can also put extra stress on the knees.
Fortunately, there are some simple exercises and stretches that you can do to strengthen your knees and alleviate joint pain while improving your mobility. Here are a few to try:
1.) Straight Leg Raises
Start by lying on your back on a flat, firm surface. Bending one knee, place that foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight as you lift it to the height of the other knee. This will strengthen your thigh muscles, which in turn will relieve some stress from your knees.
2.) Hamstring Curls
Standing upright with a chair in front of you for balance, spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift one leg, lifting the heel toward your buttocks, and hold that position for three seconds. Repeat three sets of 15 before doing the same for the other leg. This will help to strengthen your thigh muscles and gently loosen stiff knee joints. You may find that you can get your heel higher after a few repetitions as the joint warms up.
3.) Wall Squats
Standing with your back to the wall, spread your feet to roughly shoulder-width distance. Bending your knees, slowly drop down into a sitting position, keeping your back straight against the wall. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, aiming to "sit" a little longer each time you complete the exercise.
4.) Stationary Bike
Biking is a great cardio exercise for people with knee troubles as it is low-impact when compared to walking. Before cycling, be sure that the angle of the pedals is right: You should have a 15-degree angle in your knee at the bottom of the stroke. Begin with 10-minute cycling sessions at a speed that feels comfortable to you, and increase the duration and speed as you grow stronger.
Before starting any new exercise regimen, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor to be sure that you're fit enough to exercise. Attempting too much can lead to injury and worsen your pain. If you have any questions about the health of your joints, don't hesitate to call Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates to schedule an appointment with one of our joint specialists.