5 Lower Body Exercises to Combat Knee Pain

5 Lower Body Exercises to Combat Knee Pain

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In general, what I see in the clinic setting is that knee pain can come on without any specific injury. Typically if you are given a few exercises to improve your range of motion, and strengthen the proper muscles at your lower legs, hips, and core muscles, you can improve the way you stand, the way you move, and ultimately how strong and healthy your knees feel.

When you see an article like this, proceed with caution. Although this woman chooses some great exercises, she is also trying to sell a product her weight loss program. With the internet widely available to most individuals, you can easily get sucked into a website that looks great, has someone pictured who looks strong and happy, and think that you want any of whatever product they are selling. We are overloaded with information every day, so keep a skeptical eye on the information you try to receive when looking up your own training advice or researching your own health my own father does this FAR too often, which he would openly admit.

Use guidelines like this as simply that – guidelines. Pick a few of these and given them a try. Don’t do exercises that seem more difficult than you can handle, because then you may end up irritating another area of your body. You can do a whole lot with 3-4 exercises daily, which is typically what we send our patients home with from a physical therapy session. Practiced with good form, and performed at least 34x/week, you can keep yourself feeling a lot better and enjoying your day to day activities quite a bit more!

Here are my “goto” knee exercises for someone coming in with general aches and pains. These are appropriate for someone without a specific injury that brought on their sx, or just looking to maintain good lower body conditioning. The best part about these exercises is that you don’t need any equipment beyond a single step, so you can do them anywhere! General guidelines for each would be working up to 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.


1. Single leg step up or step down

Step up is a little easier to begin. Make sure you have proper knee alignment, and don’t let your knee “buckle” in. This ensures you are creating the least amount of stress at the knee cap and activating your hip muscles.

Exercises to Combat Knee Pain

Step down is a more difficult exercise. Use the same principles noted above, and ensure there is no pain with the movement. Increase difficulty by not setting the foot down fully on the ground before returning to the start position.


2. Single leg bridge

Make sure to keep your core tight, back flat, and feel the action coming from your gluts and hamstrings (back of your thigh).


3. Squats

Hinge at the hips, sticking your butt further back than you think you should. You should be able to “wiggle” your toes and knees should stay aligned with the hips and feet. No need to drop further than a 90 degree angle at the knees.


4. Sidelying hip abduction

This is an “easy” exercise that if performed properly can really get your butt muscles to feel the burn. Bend your bottom leg, and lift the top leg up. Make sure the top leg stays in line with your trunk if you can see your toes, then you need to move your leg back further.


5. Bonus Planks

This is another exercise that can seem easy, but if it does, you are likely not performing with proper form. Start on forearms and toes, tighten your abdominals and gluts, and try to add in a pelvic tilt. Start around 30 seconds, and build up to 3 x 1 minute.


– Emily



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5 Lower Body Exercises to Combat Knee Pain


*Photo credit: www.medbridgeeducation.com/patient_care/programs



Emily Roberts

Emily Roberts

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