Knee Pain Exercises & Stretches


Chair Squats


This knee pain exercise is performed by standing about one foot in front of a chair. Position your your feet hip width apart (or slightly wider, depending upon your frame). Your toes should be pointed forward. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, slowly lower yourself toward a sitting position on the chair and stop before your bottom touches the chair. Never allow your knees to extend beyond your toes. If this starts to happen, stop, adjust your stance (usually by widening it), and concentrate on shifting your weight to your heels (keeping your feet on flat on the ground).

Stair Steps


  Perform these on stairs, or an aerobic step, or similar item that is eight to twelve inches high and can safely support your weight.  Begin by stepping up with one foot, touching the step with the toe of your trailing foot and then step down.  Alternate feet until you’ve completed 10-12 reps with each foot.

Side-lying Leg Lifts


  Lay on your side with your legs straight and together.  This exercise can be performed by wearing ankle weights above the knee, or by holding a dumbell or other weight on your outer thigh while performing the lift. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lift the top leg up to shoulder height.  After finishing 10-12 repetitions, repeat with the other leg.

Inner Thigh Leg Lifts


Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, slightly back on your butt. Bend your right leg and place it behind your left leg with your right foot flat on the floor and your left leg straight. Support your head with your left arm. Slowly lift your left leg about 3 to 5 inches, then lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Calf Raises


  You can use a wall or chair to maintain balance for this exercise. With your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, slowly raise your heels and contract your calf muscles then lower back to the ground slowly.  Toes should be pointed straight forward.

Straight Leg Raises


  Lie on your back with your left leg straight and with right leg bent with your foot flat on the floor. Raise your left foot approximately twelve inches while keeping your leg straight.  Hold for a few seconds, then lower your leg slowly. Repeat the exercise with your other leg.

Short Arc Knee Extensions



Beginning in the same position as the previous exercise, place a rolled towel or bolster pillow under your left knee so that your leg is bent. Straighten your left leg slowly, hold at the top for a few seconds, then slowly lower it to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

Hamstring Stretch



Start by lying on your back with your left leg flat on the floor. Using a towel or rope to loop around your right foot, pull your right leg as far as comfortable toward your chest, while keeping a slight bend at the knee. Keep your back pressed to the floor throughout the stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then release. Repeat three or four times with each leg. To increase and maintain flexibility, do this stretch 5-6 times a week.


Exercise Tips

  1. Be sure to warm up before exercising with 5-10 minutes of light physical activity such as walking, marching in place or dancing


  • Don’t lock your knees with any exercise and don’t hyper-extend your knees



  • Start slowly.



  • Wear appropriate shoes.  Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause you to overuse muscles that maintain knee adjustment and result in more knee pain