Knee Exercises

Knee is a very important weight-bearing joint of our body. Though knee pain occurs in around 8% population, knees of every individual undergo ‘wear and tear’ after the age of 40 years. It is always good to diagnose osteoarthritis of knee at an early stage. There is no way to stop degeneration nor to make joint elements regenerate. Patients with knee pain should learn structure of knee and understand the disease process. They should also observe the factors aggravating pain in their own circumstances. Small changes in life style can make big difference in severity of pain. Sensitivity to pain can be improved with good will power. Share your experiences; take help of relatives and friends. All these measures will reduce the burden of pain.

Patients with knee pain should not fold knees (sitting on floor) or squat. They should not squat for any work such as cleansing utensils, washing clothes, cutting vegetables, cleaning house, etc. Strain during such acts damages the knee. Commode toilets must be used by all patients with knee pain, mild or severe. An additional foam seat to increase height of commode can be used by those who are unable to sit on standard height seat. Using stairs is easier with climbing up or down one step at a time. Use railings and handles for support. Soft and well-fitting footwear is desirable and should be worn all the time. Shoes or sandals are better than chappals as they correct flattening of foot to some extent.

Pain in one knee can be relieved to some extent by holding a stick in opposite hand. Handle of the stick should reach your wrist when stick is held straight. Correct use of stick should be learnt and practiced well. One can also use a crutch if required. One should use a walker in case of pain in both knees.

Some patients have flat or deformed feet. Insoles of leather, rubber or other material help in correcting foot deformity to some extent and reduce knee pain. Advice from an occupational therapist is necessary in this respect. Patients with deformed or unstable knees should use knee-cap (sleeve or brace) to stabilize knee and prevent falls. Knee-caps are of different types. Use a correct size simple knee-cap to start with.

Weight reduction is absolutely essential for obese patients. Advice from a dietitian is invaluable. 10% weight reduction relieves knee pain to a significant extent. Aerobic exercises help weight reduction and relieve knee pain too. Bench exercises (cycling in air while lying on your back) are equally good for those who experience unbearable pain while walking. Attending a health club or a laughter club is advised for those who get bored exercising alone.

Exercise is an important constituent of management of knee osteoarthritis. Exercise strengthens hamstring and quadriceps muscles of thigh, decreases stiffness and increases flexibility as well as range of knee movement. Exercise increases ability and endurance and has positive impact on will-power.

Exercise should be reduced or stopped in case of increase in pain during exercise. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist for proper guidance and restart exercise once pain is under control.

Setubandhasan, pashchimottanasan, pavanmuktasan, ardhakatichakrasan, shalabhasan, dhanurasan, and veerasan are some of the yoga postures that help relieving knee pain. One can practice most postures in standing or lying down position. Vajrasan and postures involving folding of knees (swastikasan, padmasan, simhasan, utkatasan) should not be practiced for long time.

Knee Exercises

See general instructions about exercise

1. Lie down on your back and contract upper thigh muscles to pull up knee cap (patella). Pressing a bolster under knee to stiffen your knee cap is a better exercise. Stiffening of knee caps can be done at any time and even in standing position. Knee Exercise 1
2. Keep a bolster under your heels and press. This stretches muscles on the back of your thigh. Knee Exercise 2
3. Keep a bolster under your knee. Press your knee on it and raise your leg up to 1800. Your knee must be steady during this exercise. Knee Exercise 3
4. Lie on your back, fold your knee and keep your foot flat on ground. Bring up your foot slowly near your hand. This will lift up your knee. Knee Exercise 4
5. Lift up your thigh up to 200 and press heel on the ground. Knee Exercise 5
6. Bring both legs together and raise one leg as much as you can. Do not bend your knee and try to steady your leg. You can use an ankle weight during this exercise later on for more strengthening. Knee Exercise 6
7. Lie flat on abdomen and lift up feet to bend both your knees up to 900. You can also use an ankle weight during this exercise. Knee Exercise 7
8. Sit on a chair. Raise your leg slowly up to straighten knee. Knee Exercise 8
9. This exercise can also be done using an ankle weight. Knee Exercise 9
10. Sit on a chair. Keep a large bolster, ball or pillow between your knees and press it for strengthening inner thigh muscles. Pressing pillow on a wall with your outer knee strengthens outer thigh muscles. Knee Exercise 10