You want to live an active lifestyle, but your knee pain makes that prospect difficult. Fortunately, there is a simple way to relieve daily knee pain. Stretching helps you stabilize your knees and the surrounding muscles and tissues. Stretching also helps you strengthen your knee to help you prevent knee pain and injury.
Here are some of the best knee stretches to try.
1. Wall Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring muscles overlap the knee joint, so stretching the hamstring will also stretch the knee. You’ll need a resistance band for this stretch.
To perform this stretch, lie on your back with your feet flexed. Connect one end of a resistance band to your right foot. Hold the other end of the resistance band and lift your right leg. You’ll feel the stretch in your knee and the back of your leg. Hold for several seconds before switching legs.
2. Straight Leg Raise
This stretch strengthens both your quadriceps and your knees.
Lie on your back with your right leg straight and your left leg bent. Lift your right leg about one foot in the air. Rotate your leg slightly outward so your toes point at a diagonal. Repeat the stretching movement several times before switching legs.
3. Heel-Slide Knee Extension
Here is a stretch that focuses exclusively on your knee. Lie on your back and bend your right knee. With your right foot on the floor, move your foot away from your body, sliding your heel along the way. When your feet are parallel, hold the pose for a few seconds and then repeat.
4. Calf Stretch
Work both your calves and your knees with this complete stretch.
Start facing a wall. With your arms straight and touching the wall, stretch your left leg out behind you. Bend your right knee while keeping your left leg straight (with your heel on the ground). Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching legs.
5. Quadriceps Set
Now it’s time to stretch your quadriceps along with your knee. You’ll need a rolled towel for this stretch.
Sit on the floor and extend your right leg. Place a towel under your right knee. Bend your left knee toward your body with your heel flat on the floor. Tighten your right thigh and push your knee into the towel. Hold the stretch for several seconds before switching legs.
6. Wall Slide
This classic stretch increases your flexibility while giving your muscles a workout. Place your back against a wall. Bend your knees and slide down the wall about thirty degrees. As you slide, your knees and legs should stay parallel. Your knees should not protrude beyond your toes.
7. Knee Flexion
Keep your towel for this stretch; you’ll need a chair as well. Sit down on the chair and loop the towel under your right foot. Bend your knee toward you by pulling the towel with both hands. You should lift your knee about five inches above the floor. Hold for a few seconds before switching feet.
How Often Should You Stretch Your Knees?
Along with relieving knee pain, stretching keeps your muscles and tendons flexible. You’ll be better able to handle both vigorous exercise like running and biking as well as basic daily movements like walking and bending.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you stretch at least twice a week. You should hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
After you exercise is a great time to stretch your knees because you’re more flexible then. But really, you can stretch any time of day.
Stretching can provide strength and support to your knees, but it can’t solve serious knee problems. If you continue to experience knee pain, call Noyes Knee Institute for a customized treatment plan.